The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is a wary and powerful bird that spears fish or catches them by using its bill like scissors. It also feeds on frogs, snakes, mice, and birds. Tallest of the heron family, the Great Blue heron walks knee-deep in the water and does its fishing both by day and by night.
A Great Blue Heron may slowly stalk its prey or stand motionless waiting for something to come within reach, and then strikes with a swift and unerring bill. If the prize is small, the heron tosses and swallows it headfirst so that the sharp fins are flattened against the body and the fish sides smoothly down the bird’s long narrow neck. If the fish is a large one, however, the great blue may walk ashore with it and beat it into the proper consistency for swallowing.
Distribution & Habitat
Though bulky, it can float like a goose and take off from the surface of the water. It needs its colonies, usually in tall trees. The nests themselves are often so close together that they may be separated by little more than the length of two extended necks. Ornithologists have recently concluded that the “Great White Heron”, found in Florida, the West Indies, and Mexico, is actually an all-white version of the Great Blue Heron, not a separate species.