It's supposed to be a heron. Local business owners are encouraged by the board of gaudiness to purchase these things and paint them anyway they want. The picture above shows what "anyway they want" means. They're probably 8' tall.
Toronto did the same thing with moose in the 90s. Those actually turned out quite nice, at least the ones I saw standing near businesses and attractions in the city.
Looking up a little background, I guess they had over 300 of the things, sponsored by businesses and painted by local artists. Apparently, they did influence tourists, and are credited with adding hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy, while also raising a couple of million for Olympic athletes. Of course, there was a major amount of promotion by everyone involved, moose tours were offered, and the international media gave it a fair bit of coverage.
Close to half of the moose were later auctioned off for charity in 2001.
Here's a link to a listing with photos:http://www.toronto.ca/moose/moose_moosellaneous.htm