New York Natural Heritage Program
Great Blue Heron
Ardea herodias Linnaeus, 1758
Birds

Threats [-]
One of the more significant threats faced by Great Blue Herons is the loss of habitat. New York State has lost over half of its wetlands since colonization (Tiner 1984 cited in NatureServe 2003). More recently, losses of wetlands in the Lake Plains portion of the state have been offset as agricultural lands revert back to wetlands, although net losses of wetlands in the Hudson Valley continue. Equally important, the quality of remaining habitat is often degraded by fragmentation, exotic plants, and nutrient enrichment (Riexinger, personal communication, October 31, 2003). During the late 1800s many species of herons were persecuted for their feathers, although Great Blue Heron populations were not as damaged by this as other heron species (Cornell Lab of Ornithology 2003). While this practice no longer continues, shooting in some areas may still pose a threat to this species.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices [-]
Efforts should be made to maintain the quantity and quality of habitats where Great Blue Herons are breeding as well as nearby areas that are used for foraging. Great Blue Herons usually need several areas to forage, in order to support a rookery.