Blue Heron ( Ardea herodias) hunting in coastal marsh.
The Great Blue Heron is found throughout most of North America, including Alaska. The range extends south through Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean to South America. Birds east of the Rocky Mountains in the northern part of their range are migratory and winter in Central America or northern South America. From the southern United States southwards, and on the Pacific coast, they are year-round residents. However their hardiness is such that individuals often remain through cold northern winters, as well. It can be found in a range of habitats, in fresh and saltwater marshes, mangrove swamps, flooded meadows, lake edges, or shorelines, but always near bodies of water, usually nesting in trees or bushes. The primary food for Great Blue Heron is small fish, though it is also known to opportunistically feed on a wide range of shrimps, crabs, aquatic insects, rodents, other small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and small birds. Herons locate their food by sight and usually swallow it whole. Both parents feed the young at the nest by regurgitating food. Eggs are incubated for approximately 28 days.