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great blue herons - chesapeake conservancy

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great blue herons - chesapeake conservancy

Great Blue Heron

General Information

Herons, which are commonly also referred to as cranes, are very adaptable birds. They can live in climates that range from marshy swamps to desert rivers to artic coastlines. Because of this, their diets also change depending on their surrounding climates. Herons can consume almost anything smaller than themselves to survive, from small fish to small water birds, hunting during the night and the day.

Herons hunt by standing or walking in very shallow waters and patiently waiting for prey to swim or float by. These birds remain solitary animals until they have reached the age of reproduction maturation.

The Great Blue Heron is the largest heron in North America with a wingspan of up to 6.6 feet. They can weigh up to 7 pounds and have a lifespan of up to 15 years. Another interesting fact about herons is that they can cruise through the sky at 20 to 30 mph!

Mating and Nesting

Herons nest in colonies and even among other species of birds. Male herons will choose the nesting site and will stretch out its neck with its bill pointed upward to attract a mate. Male herons will also fly in circles above the colony with its neck extended if the former does not attract a female in sufficient time.

The location of their nests depends on climate and can be in trees up to 20 feet high or even 100 feet high. In areas with little to no predation, some herons will nest on the ground. The female heron will build the nest with material collected by the male.

Females will normally produce two to seven pale blue eggs. Once the egg has hatched, both parents will regurgitate food to feed their young. A young heron will begin to try flying around sixty days old and will leave the nest shortly thereafter.

  • topic: great blue herons

  • location: maryland eastern shore

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about the chesapeake conservancy

Chesapeake Conservancy logo for blue heron cam

The Great Blue Heron Cam gives you an up close and personal look at the daily lives of an iconic species of Chesapeake Bay. Look inside a great blue heron rookery, or colony, located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. This rookery is home to between as many as 50 herons on 10-12 nests, and built 100 feet off the ground in loblolly pine trees. The featured couple Rell & Eddie are named after the surfers Rell Sunn and Eddie Aikau.

These tall, bluish-gray wading birds have long, pointed bills and graceful, S-shaped necks. They live year-round in marshes and wetlands throughout the Chesapeake Bay region and are also found on freshwater lakes, ponds and impoundments. Great blue herons can grow to 4 feet tall with a 6 to 7 foot wingspan. Despite their large size, hollow bones allow them to weigh only 5 to 6 pounds. They eats mostly fish, but will also feed on insects, amphibians, crustaceans and other small animals. They silently stalks their prey in shallow waters, and then plunge their bills into the water to capture their meal. They spend about 90 percent of their waking hours hunting for food.

Great blue herons select new mates every year, laying 2-7 eggs. These eggs are then incubated approximately 28 days until hatching. The young are then fed for around 60 days in the nest by both parents. Once the chicks are able to fly they leave the nest, however they still rely on their parents for food for a few more weeks until they can properly hunt on their own.

This cam is brought to you through our partnership with Chesapeake Conservancy, an organization working to ensure these wading birds continue to thrive by protecting river corridors so that the Chesapeake Bay can support abundant fish populations.

about

location: Maryland's Eastern Shore

best hours: Daylight Hours

time zone: Eastern Time

links: Chesapeake Conservancy
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Great Blue Heron

General Information

Herons, which are commonly also referred to as cranes, are very adaptable birds. They can live in climates that range from marshy swamps to desert rivers to artic coastlines. Because of this, their diets also change depending on their surrounding climates. Herons can consume almost anything smaller than themselves to survive, from small fish to small water birds, hunting during the night and the day.

Herons hunt by standing or walking in very shallow waters and patiently waiting for prey to swim or float by. These birds remain solitary animals until they have reached the age of reproduction maturation.

The Great Blue Heron is the largest heron in North America with a wingspan of up to 6.6 feet. They can weigh up to 7 pounds and have a lifespan of up to 15 years. Another interesting fact about herons is that they can cruise through the sky at 20 to 30 mph!

Mating and Nesting

Herons nest in colonies and even among other species of birds. Male herons will choose the nesting site and will stretch out its neck with its bill pointed upward to attract a mate. Male herons will also fly in circles above the colony with its neck extended if the former does not attract a female in sufficient time.

The location of their nests depends on climate and can be in trees up to 20 feet high or even 100 feet high. In areas with little to no predation, some herons will nest on the ground. The female heron will build the nest with material collected by the male.

Females will normally produce two to seven pale blue eggs. Once the egg has hatched, both parents will regurgitate food to feed their young. A young heron will begin to try flying around sixty days old and will leave the nest shortly thereafter.