Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
The Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias, is a wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae, common all over the USA. and Canada, except in deserts and high mountains, where there is no water for it to wade in. It is very similar to the European Grey Heron.
This species usually breeds in colonies in trees close to lakes or other wetlands. It builds a bulky stick nest.
It feeds in shallow water and spears fish or frogs with its long, sharp bill. It will also raid goldfish ponds in back yards. The Great Blue stands four feet tall and has a seven-foot wingspan.
Birds east of the Rockies in the northern part of their range are migratory and winter in Central America or northern South America. In the southern United States and on the Pacific coast, they are year-round residents.
The Great White Heron, which was long thought to be a separate species, is a white morph of Great Blue which occurs in southern Florida. Wurdemann’s Heron is an intermediate morph, in which only the head is white.