The great blue heron is the most widely distributed heron in North America. It is so plentiful that it is listed as a species of least concern by the International Union of Conservation and Nature.
The largest of the American herons, the great blue heron lives along the coast, near rivers or by lakes, ponds and swamps.
The range of this bird extends from its summer homes in northern Canada and Alaska, throughout the lower 48 states and into Mexico, Central and South America.
While other large wading birds suffered from people killing them for their plumes and feathers, the great blue heron laregely avoided this fate.
Pesticides took their toll on many types of birds. Again, the great blue heron was less susceptible to the effects of these poisonous compounds less than many other birds that feed in or near the water, such as the osprey.
Herons have a habit of assembling close to fish hatcheries and feeding on easy-to-catch sicker fish. Fish are the main staple of the heron’s diet; some have actually choked to death on fish they could not swallow completely.
- Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Mike Baird