Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
Ardeidae or Heron Family

Large bird, 4 to 5 ft tall, with a long neck, and long legs. Overall color is gray with a hint of blue, Bill is orange to yellow, and face is nearly white. There is a darker plume of feathers on the top of the head. Generally seen in water, searching for fish, salamanders, crustaceans, and insects, but may also eat small mammals, birds or reptiles. They often perch in trees, and raise their young in trees. In flight, their large size, grand wingspread and gray color makes me think of pterosaurs from the age of dinosaurs. (Pterosaurs weren't dinosaurs, but a cousin group to them. Birds are descendants of one group of dinosaurs, so great-blue herons really are dinosaurs.)

Great blue herons are native ro most of the U.S. and very southern Canada. Some are migratory, especially in the north, and spend their winters in Central America, while others hang out all winter if they can find unfrozen water. The are nearly always found near water of some kind in which they can hunt. In Wildwood they are a common visitor to Connelly's Run.

The only other heron reported in Wildwood is the Green Heron, which is much smaller and much rarer. It is also migratory and would never be spotted here in the winter, unless badly lost.

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