Great Blue Heron

Henrietta was a first year bird when she  came to the MRC from Huron County in 2002.  Some of her toes were missing  and she was diagnosed with West Nile Virus when she arrived at the Center.









About Great Blue Herons

(Information taken from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

The largest and most widespread heron in North America, the Great Blue Heron can be found along the ocean shore or the edge of a small inland pond. An all white form is found from southern Florida into the Caribbean, and used to be considered a separate species, the “Great White Heron.”

  • Size: 97-137 cm (38-54 in)
  • Wingspan: 167-201 cm (66-79 in)
  • Weight: 2100-2500 g (74.13-88.25 ounces)
  • Large, gray bird.
  • Long legs
  • Long, “S”-shaped neck.
  • Long, thick bill.
  • White crown stripe.
  • Black plume extending from behind eye to off the back of the neck.
  • Shaggy feathers on neck and back.
  • Bluish gray back, wings, and belly.
  • Reddish or gray neck.
  • White morph all white with pale legs, yellow bill.
  • Front of neck streaked with white, black, and rusty brown.
  • Bill yellowish.
  • Legs brownish or greenish.
  • Eyes yellow.
  • Thighs rust colored.
  • Black patch at bend of wing.
  • Flight feathers blackish on top, contrasting with center of wings.
  • Cinnamon patch at leading edge of underside of wing.
Sex Differences

Sexes look alike.


Juvenile similar to adult, but has gray crown, a dark upper bill, rusty brown edging to back feathers, and lacks body plumes.


Fish, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and small mammals.

Summer Range:

Breeds from southern Alaska and central Canada southward to Central America and the Caribbean

Winter Range:

Winters from southern Canada southward to northern South America, and along the coasts as far north as Alaska and Nova Scotia


Found along calm freshwater and seacoasts. Usually nests in trees near water, but colonies can be found away from water. Great White Heron found almost exclusively in shallow marine habitats.


Walks slowly, stands and stabs prey with quick lunge of the bill.

Nest Type:

Nests in colonies, sometimes as lone pair. Nest a large platform of sticks, lined with pine needles, moss, reeds, dry grass, or twigs. Placed high in trees, occasionally on ground.

Egg Description:

Dull pale blue

Clutch Size:

2-6 eggs

Condition at Hatching:

Covered in pale gray down; eyes are open and can hold head up just after hatching

Conservation Status

The Great Blue Heron suffered less from plume hunters and pesticides than other herons, and its numbers have remained strong.


Call a deep, hoarse croak