A blue heron stands watch on the Mill Pond in Monroe. According to the Audubon Society's "Guide to North American Birds," the great blue heron is "widespread and familiar (though often called "crane"), the largest heron in North America. Often seen standing silently along inland rivers or lakeshores, or flying high overhead, with slow wingbeats, its head hunched back onto its shoulders. Highly adaptable, it thrives around all kinds of waters from subtropical mangrove swamps to desert rivers to the coastline of southern Alaska. With its variable diet, it is able to spend the winter farther north than most herons, even in areas where most waters freeze. A form in southern Florida (called “great white heron”) is slightly larger and entirely white.

Photo by William Dimmit