Great Blue Heron
The great blue heron is among the tallest herons in North America and its wingspan can be up to 6 feet wide! This bluish-gray, long-legged wader is a common resident of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, where it can be seen stalking prey along the river and lake shores.
There is a white color phase of the blue heron called a great white heron, but it's range is limited to Florida and isn't found in Minnesota. If you spot a large, heron-like bird that is white, it is most likely a great egret.
The blue heron is well suited to finding and catching fish. A patient hunter, the blue heron hunts by wading slowly in shallow water where it finds crayfish, fish, small turtles, and frogs. Its bill is sharp and serrated, which makes it well suited to grip its slippery prey. It may also hunt for small animals and large insects on land.
Blue herons nest in treetop colonies called rookeries. Nests are generally located 30-70 feet above the ground or water in a large tree, which often stands in water or on an island. Such a location decreases nest predation by land-based predators. Nesting in colonies also increases the number of sharp eyes looking for dangerous predators.