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'Blue Heron'
Photo by Lisa Thompson


September 13, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - Blue herons are frequently sighted in the Ketchikan area. This heron gets its name from its bluish-grey feathers and regal size. It has a huge wingspan of nearly 6 feet. When in flight, its neck folds into an S-shape, and you may hear it makes its call - a hoarse, gutteral squawk.

Photo: Blue Heron

This blue heron was recently photographed at rest at
Ketchikan Airport's float plane dock.

The great blue heron is the largest and most common of the North American herons. It is often seen standing at the edge of a tidal pond watching for small fish, its favorite prey. It also feeds on small mammals, reptiles, and occasionally, birds.

During the mating season, two feathers on the bird's head become long and thread-like. The great blue heron's eggs are generally light blue in color.

The clutch size is three to seven eggs which are laid during March and April. Eggs hatch after about 28 days, and both parents care for the chicks.

Their primary diet is small fish, which they swallow head first. They also known to eat frogs, lizards, snakes, crawfish, small birds, rodents, and insects.

The great blue heron can be found in Alaska, Quebec, and Nova Scotia south to Mexico and West Indies.

Lisa Thompson ©2005

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Ketchikan, Alaska