Great Blue Heron, building nest

Great Blue Herons build a nest

Great Blue Herons build a nest with twigs, sticks and mud

The Great Blue Heron is a large magnificent bird that returns to Saskatchewan after the winter, usually in March.  They breed in colonies of 5 to 500 birds and nest in trees close to water, swamps or lakes.  Great Blue Herons build a large bulky stick-nest which they reuse for several years.  While they are socially monogamous within a single breeding season, most males choose a different nest and a new mate each year.

Great Blue Heron females lay about three to six pale blue eggs between March and April and raise only one brood of chicks each year.   Both parents help with incubation of the eggs and feeding of the hungry brood.

Great Blue Heron chicks nest with their parents for approximately 55 days before they take flight, and after becoming airborne  travel with the colony to foraging grounds returning to the nest for another three weeks and sometimes even till the end of the season.  Younger birds  are not as good at catching fish as the adult birds are so they remain somewhat dependent for a season.

If you are lucky, you may spot a Great Blue Heron while camping in Northern Saskatchewan this summer.

Photo taken by Greg Lasley, Wildlife Photographer