Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias fannini)



  • BC: Blue – S3BS4N (2022)
  • COSEWIC: Special Concern
  • SARA: Special Concern (2010)
  • Global: Apparently Secure (2016)
  • Galiano Island Status: Confirmed


The great blue heron is the largest wading bird in North America, standing over 1 m in height. It feeds in slow moving salt, fresh or brackish water. This large and cunning bird hunts for fish, amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates, small mammals, and even other birds.


Nests are typically large and found high up in mature conifer trees close to mudflats. They tend to hunt in different areas in different seasons. During the warmer seasons the great blue heron generally lives near beaches; during the winter near grasslands and marshes.


The great blue heron breeds across most of North America South of Alaska, and on the Galapagos Islands. The non-breeding distribution is south of freezing areas in the north, to as far south as Panama. The distribution of the Pacific great blue heron is confined to the Pacific Coast from Prince William Sound, Alaska south to Puget Sound, Washington, where it resides year-round.


Threats to this endangered species include: industrial contaminants and general pollution of food sources, urbanization, wetland drainage, and human disturbance such as noise and activity which disturb the heron’s during the nesting season.

Galiano Status

A year-round population is established on Galiano Island.

Photo Credit

Frank Lin and Adam Mallon

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