The Great Blue Heron

While Blue Herons live throughout North America, they are iconic of the Pacific Northwest, because they only live around water, and we have a lot of water, and unlike the colder parts of the country where they migrate south, here they are year-round residents.

Blue Herons gather in colonies of 5 to 500 to breed. Both the female and male build a nest of sticks. The eggs are a light blue, and both parents will regurgitate food for the young once they hatch.

The firstborn chick gets larger than its siblings because it learns how to handle food and be aggressive towards its clutch mates.

While primarily consuming small fish, the Great Blue Heron will also eat small mammals, insects, amphibians and small birds. They swallow their prey whole and have been known to choke on prey that is too large.

Text and photographs reprinted with permission from issue 8 of the Steamboat Island Register. For more information and to advertise in the Register, contact Amanda Waggoner at (360) 870-2126 or

Posted in Nature Notes from the Steamboat Peninsula, Steamboat Island Register.