I know you fellow ponders reading this are gritting your teeth saying; “What is so great about heron?” Well, with pond fish safety aside, this ginormous bird is quite beautiful.
Here are a few facts about this ominous creature that may soften your heart a little.
The Great Blue is the largest heron found in North America. An adult male can average 54 inches tall with almost a 7 foot wing span. Unlike the smaller 38-inch female, males have a puffy plume on the back of their head and a larger beak. A blue heron will eat up to 13 ounces of food on a daily basis - unless they are feeding their young. With hungry mouths to feed, they need twice as much. That is a lot of fish, amphibians and aquatic invertebrates.
Provided the harsh winter weather did not blow the nest down while they were south, male herons will return home (called a heronry) and claim its nest again in mid-February. A couple of weeks later, the female will join him and mating rituals begin.
Heron maintain a monogamous relationship each season. Both the male and female share in building the nest and raising their young. In a tree top, 30-70 feet high, surrounded by water, is where the female lays her 3-7 eggs each spring. Although, they are no longer extinct, they are still protected.
North East Ohio has two heronries where bystanders can observe the awe-inspiring sight of hundreds of the majestic birds returning to their nests every spring. People come from all over to see such an unusual view in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Read more about the Cuyahoga Valley, National Park Ohio and the Great Blue Herons here.