The Great Blue Herons of San Francisco

The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is one of the most elegant and beautiful birds to grace our wetlands. The largest of the herons, they stand around 4 ft (122 cm). tall with a wing span of around 6ft (183 cm). They range from Mexico and the United States up through the West Coast of Canada into Alaska. These amazing birds have been living and nesting in San Francisco since 1993.

Heron hunting fish in Mallard Lake in Golden Gate Park
Heron hunting fish in Mallard Lake in Golden Gate Park

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is home to more than just bison, raccoons, and coyotes. It’s home to at least one nesting pair of Great Blue Herons. They live here year round have a nest high in the top of a Monterrey Cypress. They hunt fish in the ponds and lakes in the park. I once saw a heron next to an intersection with a large gopher in its mouth. I couldn’t get a photo, darn it.

The nest is the clump of sticks under the heron chicks in the center
The nest is the clump of sticks under the heron chicks in the center
Closeup of mom and dad
Closeup of mom and dad

I looked them up on the intertubes and discovered that San Francisco Nature Education has a heron watch every year. The herons lay their eggs between January and March and the chicks hatch in April. Volunteers meet at Stow Lake with spotting scopes and spend time educating the public about these beautiful birds. This year, the last one is May 19th. I didn’t find out about it soon enough to go this year. Nest year I’ll try to go.

Here is a great video by the California Academy of Sciences, which is located in Golden Gate Park.

Please forgive the abominable purple fringe in the photos. I adore my San Francisco fog, but it does make some photos difficult with a point and shoot. I’ll have a good DSLR eventually.

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7 Replies to “The Great Blue Herons of San Francisco”

  1. i haven’t left comments because of pain in my hands. know this, though, i’m reading your blog faithfully. have to go fill out med records forms for a new doc and hopefully receive a call from a compounding pharmacy today. also, have to make a trip to the drug store for hand/wrist, foot/ankle wraps. so, i’m off to do that.

    you take care and give your wonderful husband a hug. don’t tell him it’s from me, let him just be surprised that he gets an extra one from you. LOL. have a great day my good friend. i won’t be walking lee today, i can’t. hopefully i can talk son into doing it for me. i’ll figure something out.

    out for now. know i think of you daily! btw, son got me hooked on Downton Abbey i’m catching the first season from amazon prime. it’s free so far. i’m sure i’ll have to pay for later seasons, but, hey, it’s a good story. i’ll have to check out “trollhunter”. your movie suggestions always delight me.

  2. To be honest, I would rather know that you were ignoring me rather than going through misery with your hands. That sounds weird, but you know what I mean. I hope the new doc can help. I’ll pass on the hug and give Lee a scritch for me.

    Troll hunter is serious. It’s so serious that a few people haven’t figured out that it’s comedy. It’s droll enough to give Steven Wright a run for his money. I loved it…what I saw of it.

    Now I’m off to sleep. Tomorrow, we’re going to the California Academy of Sciences. I’m taking the camera, of course.

  3. ooh, can’t wait for the pix!

    i’m hoping the new doc helps, he at least seems to want to try so that’s a good thing. now if i can just get his office to get with the program and get that compounded prescription faxed to the out of state pharmacy. they keep losing it. i’m hoping this is just a bad week for them and not a portent of things to come LOL.

    1. The museum is wonderful. I took so many pics the computer had a conniption fit. LOL I guess that since it’s a dinosaur, it didn’t appreciate my dino bones pics.

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