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Great Blue Heron

Ardea herodias

Standing from 39" to 52 " The Great Blue Heron is the largest of the dark colored herons. In Upstate New York, this heron is frequently seen along the shores of lakes, rivers and streams. In other areas of the country it will also frequent saltwater habitats. The top of its head is blue gray while the underside of the head and body are white. It's back is gray.



Great Blue Herons are common in Upstate New York. They are frequently seen in the following locations:

The shores of the Lake Ontario, Genesee River and its tributaries, The Erie Canal, Mendon Ponds Park, Ellison Park, Durand Eastman Park, and almost any other aquatic habitat that has shallow water. They are seen in large numbers at the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge and the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge.

Images Needed


Great Blue Herons are usually quiet. When they are disturbed they sound a hoarse squawk that may be repeated several times.


When a Great Blue Heron take flight they curve their neck in an S curve and extend their legs behind their body. While canoeing Upstate New York streams, it is not uncommon to come across a Great Blue Heron. The heron will often fly a hundred yards or so and land. Each time the canoe approaches the heron will take flight and move a distance ahead of the canoe. This cycle is sometimes repeated a dozen or more times.


The range of the Great Blue Heron extends across most of the United States.

Range map needed

For More Information

Rochester Birding Organizations

Places to see Great Blue Herons

Search the Web for information on birds

Search the World Wide Web for information on ornithology using the Yahoo! search tool.


If you are interested in reading more about Great Blue Herons connect to the Rochester Public Library's electronic online card catalog.

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