Green Heron

Butorides virescens

Though only rarely found outside their normal range, the Green Heron is a native to North and Central America. On the North American west coast they are resident year-round throughout most of California, but will summer along the Pacific slope zone as far north as southern British Columbia. We do not expect these birds in the intermountain states, but are common breeders in the eastern USA from the Mississippi Valley to the eastern seaboard.

Green Herons are among the few bird species to use tools. We have observed them dropping sticks, bread and other floating material in shallow water to lure in fish, and capture their curious prey as they come within striking distance.

Most of my meetings with these small herons have been in Southern California. When I was in Texas in the spring of 2020, I had a rewarding encounter with one of these birds while visiting Aransas NWR on the Central Gulf coast.

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