Many Great Blue Herons (Pelecaniformes: Ardeidae: Ardea herodias) spend the summer breeding in southern Canada and the northern Great Plains, and overwinter in Central America and the Caribbean. Between these migratory extremes these large colorful birds can be found year-round, especially throughout most of the United States. They’re most often seen near water, and are particularly common in saltwater and freshwater marshes. These herons typically hunt alone, wading in shallow water and waiting patiently for small prey to move close. Although they spend much of their time motionless, they can strike quickly with their long, pointed bills. They’re known to eat everything from insects, fish and amphibians to small reptiles, mammals, and even other birds. While they seem to prefer hunting in aquatic environments, they can also sometimes be found in meadows and farm fields.
Great Blue Herons usually nest in trees but will also build nests in shrubs, on human structures, and on the ground. Males build rough nests using mostly sticks and then present them to their mates. The females then finish the nests with a variety of other plant materials. Nest building can take up to two weeks, and some can reach several feet (over one meter) in diameter. Females lay several eggs per brood, and raise only one or two broods per year.