|Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodios)|
The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodios) is a very large, tall bird. It stands at around 4 ft tall, and has a wing span of 6 ft. The adult's plumage is a blue-gray, with black shoulder patches and a black stripe from his eye to the back of the head.
Great Blue Herons can be found all over the United States and the Caribbean and South America. They are resident year 'round in Florida, and most have lost their fear of humans. Great Blue Herons can be seen near fishermen, standing within a few feet of them waiting to steal their catches. They can also be seen (like this one) walking around on lawns, waiting for a handout.
It is illegal to feed wildlife in Florida, but many people do, which encourages them to come right up to the door waiting for a snack. Snowbirds (people who winter in Florida) feed the birds, then when they leave to go back up North, the birds sit and wait for them to come back (like this one) instead of hunting for their own food.
In St Petersburg, around The Pier, people have fed the Pelicans so much, that they no longer fish for their food and many were starving to death. They City now feeds them daily to keep them from starving. It's very sad. This is why it is illegal in this state. People who are feeding these beautiful birds are also not giving them natural food that is in their diet, which is making them unhealthy and threatening the species.