Between March 15 and the end of March, most people who watch for blue herons have seen one or many. The herons winter in a range extending from our southern states to Central America, and always return to their breeding range and, specifically, to their nesting rookeries early in the season. There is a heron rookery on Coney Island in Lake Waconia.
The great blue heron, or "blue crane" as it is often called, is the largest and best known of American herons. Like most of the heron species, it is very sociable, preferring to nest in congested communities that vary in size from a few pairs to hundreds of birds.
Herons are stately, graceful birds, flying with slow, steady wing beats, with necks drawn in and legs stretched out behind. They stand more than three feet tall, with much of their height made up of long legs and a long neck. From tip to tip, their wings measure six feet.
In addition to its height, the heron has a very distinctive appearance, with its blue-gray color, largely white neck and head, black eyebrows extended into several long plums off the back of the head, and a six-inch yellow bill. The feathers at the base of the neck drop down to form a kind of necklace.
Males and females look alike, and seldom weigh more than seven pounds.
The great blue heron often is seen standing motionless in shallow water, patiently waiting for prey. When an unwary fish or frog comes within striking distance, its sharp beak shoots forward and down with lightning speed, seizing the fish or other animal crosswise between mandibles. Seldom does the heron miss its mark.