Great Blue Heron
Ardea herodias
Family Ardeidae

* Body lean, gray-blue, with a white area and black stripe on the head.
* Legs long and reed-like.
* Neck long and graceful, folded close to the body in flight.
* Bill long and daggerlike.
* Height: Stands up to 4 1/2' tall, wingspan up to 6'. One of the largest birds commonly seen in suburban areas.

Natural History:
* Habitat: Marshes, swamps, shorelines, and tidal flats. The heron's nest is made of a 2-3' wide platform of sticks and is used for many years. They nest in colonies with multiple nests a few to several meters apart.
* Range: Southern Canada to Mexico. Winters in South America.
* Voice: Deep, throaty croaks; frahnk frahnk frahnk.
* Behavior: A solitary bird; usually seen alone. Feeds on fish, water snakes, mice, and frogs. Herons may stand reedlike for an extended period, and then dart their necks out to snatch up a fish or frog.
* Native.

* Look for a heron on the edge of Paramecium Pond in the fall. Be quiet, observant, and patient; herons remain very still and camouflaged in tall aquatic grasses.

* "It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbor wood
And the mussel pooled and heron
Priested shore."
-Dylan Thomas, 1914-1953

* Thanks to Jenn Mahoney for this photo!


Created by: Niki Zhou and Carla Holleran
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: June 25, 2004
Last Modified: August 7, 2004
Expries: June 1, 2005