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The Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron (classified by scientists as Ardea herodias) is also known as the Long John, Poor Joe, or Big Cranky. It is blue gray in color and often has a black stripe above each eye. The heron's bill is long and yellowish. Herons are between 38 and 54 inches in length, have a wingspan of up to 6 feet, and weight between 5 and 8 pounds.

Great Blue Herons fly at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. They eat fish, frogs, insects, and small rodents. Often herons will hunt for fish at both day and night. To catch fish, the blue heron wades into the water, waiting until a fish comes close enough to reach and pluck out using the long beak. This bird swallows small fish whole, only ripping apart larger ones to big to gulp.

Many blue herons nest in the Chesapeake Bay in the United States. Grouping together, they are very sensitive to human disturbances. Unfortunately, herons have been driven out of many nesting areas as humans transform natural wetland areas into settled land. Water pollution and waste represents another threat.

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