This is the most conspicuous large wader in Ontario waters, waiting patiently at the edge of marshes for an unwary fish or frog to come its way, or flapping ponderously to its nest high in a treetop heronry in some secluded woodlot often miles from the feeding marsh.
After the nesting season, herons spread out in all directions and this species may be joined by some of its smaller relatives that have bred south of the border.
This big, blue-gray bird stands about 4 ft. high.
It is often called a crane but cranes fly with the head outstretched, not folded back so that the neck forms an S-curve as in the case of herons.
Adult cranes have a bare red patch on the forehead while while the heron has a white face and usually sports a long black crest, shorter in the immatures. Cranes are very rare in Canada.