Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

 

Great Blue Heron

This Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) was photographed over French Hill Pond in 2009. The Great Blue Heron is a member of the order Ciconiiformes and the Herons and Bitterns family (Ardeidae). This bird is very large with a wing span of up to six feet and a height of up to 52". In spite of its name, the Great Blue Heron is actually gray to grayish brown but can appear bluish under some lighting conditions. Its bill is yellow. In southern Florida and the Caribbean, this bird may be pure white and called the Great White Heron. Experts debate whether the Great White Heron is a separate species.

The following photograph was taken in 2016 as a Great Blue Heron rested on a rock at the north end of French Hill Pond.

A Great Bule Heron at the north end of French Hill Pond.

The next photograph is a detail of the Great Blue Heron's head showing the yellow beak and eye.

Great Blue Heron Head

The Great Blue Heron eats frogs, fish, reptiles, small mammals and birds. Its nest is a platform of sticks lined with softer material in a tree or concealed on the ground. The female heron will lay three or more greenish-blue eggs.

Most Great Blue Herons will migrate south in the fall. Some may linger in the Maine winter but risk dying in the harsh winter conditions.

References:

1. Bull, John and John Farrand, Jr., The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, Eastern Region, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, 1986, p. 444.

2. Wikipedia.org, Great Blue Heron, retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_blue_heron, 8/28/2016.

 

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