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

New York State Distribution [-]
Currently, breeding Great Blue Herons occur throughout the state excluding the Coastal Lowlands where it is a nonbreeding summer visitor. The last known breeding record from the Coastal Lowlands was on Gardiners Island during the late 19th century (Levine 1998). Most Great Blue Herons leave New York for the winter, but some stay where open water persists. Usually, they can be found along the coast and more rarely along the shores of the Great Lakes when open water is present.

Global Distribution [-]
Great Blue Herons breed from southeastern Alaska across southern Canada to Nova Scotia and south to southern Mexico, the Greater Antilles, the Virgin Islands (St. Thomas and Anegada), islands off coastal Venezuela, and on the Galapagos. Non-breeding birds are found from southeastern Alaska, the central United States, and southern New England south to northern South America (mainly to northern Colombia and northern Venezuela). During the winter in the Unites States, the highest densities occur along the lower Colorado River, around the Great Salt Lake, and near Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas coast (Root 1988). They are known to wander widely outside their usual range; they have been reported a few times as far as Hawaii. Some subadults may spend the summer in their non-breeding range.
Best Places to See
• Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge (Orleans County)
• Lower Schodack Island (Rensselaer County)