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Bird Sounds and Calls of the Great Blue Heron | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Bird Sounds: Great Blue Heron

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Rodney Cammauf, U.S. National Park Service
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Great Blue Heron Calls

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Listen to the sounds and bird calls of the Great Blue Heron! This majestic bird is often seen near rivers and ponds and its call is quite distinct.

To those lucky enough to spot a Great Blue Heron standing in or near water, it’s a sight that can take your breath away. They often stand motionless or wading very slowly, stalking their prey for hours upon hours.

With its beautiful blue-grey feathers, this water bird stands 4 to 5 feet tall and has a wingspan reaching up to 6.5 feet from tip to tip. Great Blue Herons can catch almost anything in the water, including fish, frogs, newts, turtles, small mammals, insects, and other birds. 

The Sound of the Great Blue

The Great Blue Herons “squawk” or croak has an almost prehistoric sound. If you surprise this bird as it is hunting on the water, it will squawk as it leaves, almost as if it’s annoyed by your disturbance. The bird, despite its size, is very light with hollow bones and can fly quite high. Their giant wing span and dramatic silhouettes when flying conjure images of pterodactyls.

Herons can be quite vocal during breeding. When one partner greets the other, they touch their bills together and when they fly to the nest, they make a “landing call” with squawking roh-roh-rohs. If their territory is threatened, they will “scream” with a long and startling “awk!!” that can last up to 20 seconds.

Have you heard a Great Blue Heron? Listen to their sound above, compliments of The Macaulay Library at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Click here to listen to the sounds of other birds! 

2023 Almanac Club