Great Blue Heron

Posted on in Recent Sightings by Hawk Mountain

Great Blue Heron In Flight

This Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) was photographed flying past North Lookout. After seeing one of these large birds in flight, it is easy to visualize their ancestral connection to dinosaurs. With a six-foot wingspan, aerial great blue herons can be mistaken for a raptor from a distance, but look closely for their long, folded neck and trailing legs. Great blue herons can be differentiated from other heron species by their overall size (great blues are the largest heron species in North America), but also by their shaggy gray-blue plumage, black head plumes and crown, and dark flight feathers. Their diet is made up of fish, crustaceans, reptiles, amphibians, and even small mammals. To hunt, they wait motionlessly by the water’s edge and use their dagger-like bill and long neck to strike unsuspecting prey. Great blue herons occupy both freshwater and saltwater habitats throughout most of North America. 

Photo by Bill Moses.