Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
Facts and Information
The Great Blue Heron is an absolutely majestic bird, very large, growing up to 55" in length, with a wingspan of nearly 80"! They have a graceful, almost magical bearing. In flight, they look prehistoric -- it's easy to imagine them as they might have been, eons ago.
These non-swimming wading birds are sometimes mistakenly called cranes. They are carnivorous, eating primarily fish, but also small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and small birds. They usually hunt by standing in water, catching their prey by spearing it with its sharp bill, then eating it whole. They will also drop onto prey into the water while flying or from a perch.
These birds are so large that they are prey only to larger predators, such as bald eagles, occasionally the red-tailed hawks, and great horned owls. They are a frequent sight along the shorelines of San Juan Island.
Jump over to any of the other San Juan Island bird pages: American Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher, Common Raven, Coopers Hawk, Double Crested Cormorant, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-winged Blackbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Sea Hawk, Yellow Rumped Warbler, Great Horned Owl, Wild Turkey, Trumpeter Swan.
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