This stately bird is the largest and most widely distributed of the North American herons. The Great Blue Heron breeds from coast to coast in southern Canada, the United States, Mexico, the West Indies and the Galapagos Islands.
It lives mostly in colonies, building nests in the uppermost branches of tall trees, but, when necessary, it will nest in smaller trees or even on the ground.
The heron's principal food is fish taken from shallow water. It also eats frogs, snakes, insects and very small mammals such as mice and voles.
Very few birds or animals risk encounters with the Great Blue Heron, for its sharp and powerful bill is capable of inflicting serious wounds. If an incubating parent is disturbed by humans, it will leave, and so the eggs are left vulnerable to being taken by crows or raccoons.
Most Great Blue Herons are between 80 and 90 cm (31 to 35 in.) tall. Their wingspan ranges from 167 to 200 cm (65 to 78 in.). Males are generally larger than females. They get their common name from the bluish tinge of their grey feathers.