Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the status of the heron?
In most parts of North America, the Great Blue Heron is doing well. Its populations according to the Breeding Bird Survey have been slowly increasing. However there are some concerns for the Pacific Great Blue Heron in Washington and British Columbia. The portion in Canada is considered a Species of Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. It is also designated as a Blue list species by the British Columbia Provincial government. In Washington, the heron is classified as a protected species. Herons may not be harmed, killed or harassed, nests may not be destroyed. Breeding areas of the Great Blue Heron in Washington are a 'Priority Area' under the Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Priority Habitats and Species Program. Heron colonies and colony habitat are protected in Washington by local jurisdictions and their ordinances. The WDFW has no authority to protect heron habitat so we rely on city and county regulations.
2. How many herons are there?
There are an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 herons residing along the north Pacific Coast of North America. Most are found in Puget Sound and Strait of Georgia.
3. What do herons eat?
Herons eat mostly fish but will also take just about any animal they can swallow. This includes amphibians, small mammals, insects, and reptiles.
4. What are the laws that protect herons?
The Great Blue Heron is protected by federal
legislation under the Migratory Bird
Convention Act in Canada and the United
States. It is also protected in British
Columbia by the British Columbia Wildlife
Act and in Washington,
herons are protected under the Washington
Administrative Code; classified as a
protected species, they or their nests
cannot be harmed.
5. How do I discourage herons from my fish pond?
Sometimes herons become pests at fishponds. There are no simple solutions to this problem. Herons prefer to wade or find a perch from which to hunt fish. You might try placing string fences around pond edges to prevent herons from entering. Or you might try a motion activated water sprinkler. Discarded CDs dangling from strings and tied to tree limbs so they turn in the wind have been successful in dissuading herons from perching in trees.