Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) have long skinny legs and use them to walk in shallow water. They walk slowly or stand absolutely still for long periods of time waiting for the fish to come in range. They also have long skinny necks and as soon as the prey is close enough they plunge their sharp bills into the water piercing their prey.
Their specially shaped neck vertebrae allow the Great Blue Herons to curl their neck into an S shape for a more aerodynamic flight profile and to quickly strike prey at a distance.
Great Blue Herons can hunt day and night thanks to a high percentage of rod-type photoreceptors in their eyes that improve their night vision. The primary diet of Herons consists of fish. However, they can quickly adapt to eating other animals like frogs, lizards, snakes, dragonflies, grasshoppers, salamanders, crabs, shrimp, crayfish, small mammals, invertebrates, amphibians, and other aquatic insects.
The Great Blue Heron seems large with a wingspan of 6 feet while flying, but weigh less than 6 pounds due to its hollow bones. The height of both sexes can be anywhere from 4-5 feet.
Male Great Blue Herons collect much of the nest material, gathering sticks from the ground and nearby shrubs and trees, and from unguarded and abandoned nests, and presenting them to the female. She weaves a platform and a saucer-shaped nest cup, lining it with pine needles, moss, reeds, dry grass, mangrove leaves, or small twigs. The female will lay 2-6 pale blue eggs and incubate them for 28 days.
Want to learn more about the Great Blue Heron or other native South Texas animals? Call to schedule a private one-of-a-kind outdoor Sculpture Trail Tour and develop an appreciation for the vast variety of creatures that call our region home. Each sculpture provides insight into the natural history of the Rio Grande Valley. At each turn of a trail, there’s a new creature to discover.
Call us at 956-681-3370 for more information.