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Wildlife Spotlight: Great Blue Heron

PictureGreat Blue Heron

Part of the heron family (Ardeidae), the great blue heron (Ardea herodias) is the largest of the North American herons and are commonly called cranes. Even with their impressive size, great blue herons usually only weigh about five to six pounds due to their hollow bones.
These birds are highly adaptable and can often be found near a variety of different water sources from freshwater to saltwater habitats foraging for food such as fish, frogs, salamanders, snakes, insects and other small animals. They have been known to forage in grasslands and agricultural fields as well.

​Great blue herons appear to have blue-gray coloring with a wide black stripe over the eye and a mix of light and dark feathers. Their long legs and neck that form an “S” shape are unmistakable features. While hunting for their next meal, great blue herons can be seen wading slowly in the water or standing statue-like as they stalk fish and other animals. Even though these birds have mastered their slow movements, watch for their lightning-fast strike as they catch their prey.
Celebrate great blue herons and other wildlife on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks during National Wildlife Week from April 5-9. This celebration dates back to 1938 and is the National Wildlife Federation’s longest-running education program. National Wildlife Week was created as a chance to learn more about the incredible animals native to North America, their habitats, and how we can help them thrive. To learn more about native wildlife on the Landmarks, follow Irvine Ranch Conservancy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Next time you are out on the Landmarks, keep an eye out for the majestic great blue heron! To learn more about native wildlife on the Landmarks, visit