Great Blue Heron

Ardea herodias

Illustration by William S.

Great Blue Heron are some of the most majestic birds you will see on the North Shore. The Great Blue Heron is the biggest heron in Canada and is almost a metre tall. The Heron’s feathers are white and gray and blue, and easily recognizable. Great Blue Herons have long legs and a very long neck. The Heron’s beak is orange and yellow.

With their long legs, these large birds are often seen standing on rocks along the shoreline or wading in the shallow water. Great Blue Herons hunt for their food and like to eat fish, mice, frogs and bugs. They hunt by staying still and waiting but sometimes they go in the water and scare the animals out. When the animals are trying to get out of the water the heron quickly catches it and swallows it at once.

Great Blue Herons live where they hunt in marshes, near riverbanks, in around small lakes and on the coast. Great Blue Herons make big stick nests in tall trees. The nests are made from sticks, moss, grass and needles from pine trees. Herons live in colonies. Some colonies are small and some are big. Colonies can have dozens of herons, even one hundred herons. Great Blue Herons can migrate every year alone but they can also migrate with others.

There are lots of cool facts about the Great Blue Heron. The Great Blue Heron is a very fast flier. They have big wings and fly with great, slow wingbeats so they can fly up to 55 kilometres an hour, which is as fast as some cars drive on the road! Great Blue Herons may only live 15 years when they are living in their habitats. Great Blue Herons are very cool birds.

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