Great Blue Herons are fabulous, but they’re not pterodactyls…that honor belongs to Sandhill Cranes:
The oldest unequivocal sandhill crane fossil is 2.5 million years old, older by half than the earliest remains of most living species of birds, primarily found from after the Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary some 1.8 million years ago.
If you ever hear them call, you’d know what I mean: it’s absolutely prehistoric, due to the unusual way their trachea coil around in their sternum.
I have the great honor of hosting a sandhill couple who met and mated on my property! They’ll probably fly off in a month or two for the winter, but I’m hoping this becomes home base for them every year.