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Denice Smith, age 11, of Orlando, Fla., for her question:

HOW MANY EGGS DOES A HERON LAY?

Heron is the name of a family of birds which includes the true herons and the bitterns. True herons are graceful birds with long, sharply pointed bills that seem to extend right into their eyes. The female lays three to six eggs.

The nest of the heron consists of loose, crude masses of sticks built in treetops or in bushes. The young herons are helpless for a few weeks before they learn to fly.

Herons usually nest and roost in flocks, but they aunt food alone. Their nesting places are called neronries.

The largest American heron is the great blue heron. In the summer, the blue heron lives throughout the United States and Canada. The great blue heron lives on the coast of southern Florida and farther south.

The little green heron ranges from tropical America to Canada while the little blue heron and the Louisiana and heron live along the Gulf of Mexico.

In flight, herons stretch their long legs straight out behind them and curl their heads between their shoulders, unlike the cranes.

 

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