Great Blue Heron

Ardea herodias

Back to Animals on Oceanscape

Great Blue Herons are common to the Aquarium grounds but may be challenging for visitors to spot. Generally, this large bird prefers to hang around the old log pond which is visible from the pathway which connects the parking lot with the main entrance. Since most of the pond is not visible from this vantage point, however, a lot of the herons may remain invisible to many guests. Still, you may be lucky enough to spot one if the bird ventures over the south side of the pond. Herons will stand perfectly still at the edge of the pond or in the marshy areas around the estuary waiting for an unsuspecting fish or frog to happen by. When they do, the bird will use its long, spear-like bill to grab the prey. Despite their name, the Great Blue Heron is gray in color with a pale yellowish bill. They are often mistaken for Sandhill Cranes.

Range and Habitat

Great Blue Herons tend to nest in the same areas they hunt, but do so as colonies. Females will usually produce three to seven green-blue eggs placed in a tree or on the ground when hidden under reeds. They range from coastal Alaska south to Mexico.

Conservation Status

Common, but protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. It is illegal to capture, possess or harm these birds.