Texan Great Blue Herons

Ardea herodias

Very similar to the Old World’s Grey Heron, the Great Blue Heron stands as tall as 54 inches and is the largest North American heron. These birds are prototypical ambush hunters; standing silently waiting for prey to come within striking range, then reaching out at lighting speed to capture its prey. Contrast this style to an active hunter such as the Snowy Egret, who uses quick movements to frighten prey into view, then chasing down its prey. I liken my preferred method of sit-and-wait photography to these birds, and I tell people “I’m more Great Blue Heron than the Snowy Egret.”

These tall waders range over most of the USA year-round. Some birds are only summer visitors in the high plains of the upper Mississippi Valley into Canada and north of the Great lakes. In Texas I encountered these great birds along the Gulf Coast, but during my travels through the western states I’ve met them in California, Wyoming and Arizona. Those who wish to review the birds from beyond Texas can visit the <Species Gallery>.

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