Sighting of the Month: Great Blue Heron

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Great Blue Heron

The spectacular Great Blue Heron is the largest bird seen in New Mexico. It’s nearly four feet long with a six-foot wingspread. Despite this size, an adult weighs only six pounds, due to the hollow bones, which all birds share. I saw one yesterday in the drain on the west side of the Rio Grande, probably hunting for suckers or carp. They are not common–I only see one or two a year. The Great Blue Heron can swallow a fish many times wider than its narrow neck, but herons don’t just eat fish. They eat a wide variety of prey, including frogs, salamanders, turtles, snakes, insects, rodents, and small birds.

Heron with Large Fish