Great Blue Heron

Arsea herodias
Great blue heron/Photo Courtesy of Rollin Bannow

This Heron Packs a Punch 

Great blue herons hunt by stealth and appear to have endless patience as they watch and wait for prey, including fish, amphibians, small mammals and nestlings of other birds. The signature s-curved neck provides speed to the sharp, spear-like bill making this bird a powerful predator. Long legs allow these herons to wade deeper into the water than most birds in their search for prey. Big feet with long toes distribute their weight, like snowshoes, helping them to walk on the soft mud and silt without sinking.

Drawn to the abundance of food, great blue herons can easily be spied hunting the shorelines of Willapa Bay, local freshwater wetlands and nearby rivers. Generally found hunting by themselves, herons will often feed in large numbers when food is plentiful. To protect their nests from predators such as raccoons, herons nest in large colonies at the tops of trees. There are three nesting colonies of great blue herons in or near the refuge.

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Facts About Great Blue Heron

Nests high in treetops

Has a serrated talon to preen its feathers

S-curved neck gives it high speed reflexes