Range
Great Blue Heron breeds from southeastern Alaska and coastal British Columbia east to the Gaspe Peninsula and Nova Scotia south to Mexico, the West Indies and Galapagos Islands. Winters from coastal British Columbia, central United States, and southern New England south to northern South America.

Status in British Columbia
Sedentary or migratory. Resident on the coast, where it is very common in the south, common in the north and fairly common on the Queen Charlotte Islands. Fairly common resident in the southern interior where waters do not freeze. Widespread breeder in southern British Columbia; local breeder on north coast.

Breeding
Nests were large stick platforms (n=93) up to 1 m in diameter and 38 cm in depth. The nest cup was a shallow depression lined with small twigs, bark strips, fresh evergreen boughs, or rushes. Dates for 137 clutches ranged from 1 April to 2 July. Clutch size ranged from 1 to 8 eggs. Incubation period is 25 to 29 days (Harrison, C. 1978).

Remarks
Numbers appear to be increasing throughout southern areas of the interior but Read More

Range
Great Blue Heron breeds from southeastern Alaska and coastal British Columbia east to the Gaspe Peninsula and Nova Scotia south to Mexico, the West Indies and Galapagos Islands. Winters from coastal British Columbia, central United States, and southern New England south to northern South America.

Status in British Columbia
Sedentary or migratory. Resident on the coast, where it is very common in the south, common in the north and fairly common on the Queen Charlotte Islands. Fairly common resident in the southern interior where waters do not freeze. Widespread breeder in southern British Columbia; local breeder on north coast.

Breeding
Nests were large stick platforms (n=93) up to 1 m in diameter and 38 cm in depth. The nest cup was a shallow depression lined with small twigs, bark strips, fresh evergreen boughs, or rushes. Dates for 137 clutches ranged from 1 April to 2 July. Clutch size ranged from 1 to 8 eggs. Incubation period is 25 to 29 days (Harrison, C. 1978).

Remarks
Numbers appear to be increasing throughout southern areas of the interior but the magnitude of the increase is not known. Recently, high levels of organochlorine residues have been found in egg contents from heronries on the south coast and: Vancouver Island.


Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Herons foraging on tidal flats off Tsawwassen jetty, 2 June 1981.

The Birds of British Columbia (Campbell et al.), Volume I, pages 236-241.
Canadian Heritage Information Network

Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.


Great Blue Heron Bird Song

The Royal British Columbia Museum
Canadian Heritage Information Network

Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.


Sonogram of Great Blue Heron Song

Sonogram of Great Blue Heron Song

The Royal British Columbia Museum
Canadian Heritage Information Network

Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.


Tape Number: M6.033(18c)
Recording Remarks: 15ips, Nagra III B, 40" Parabolic Reflector, AKG microphone, 220 feet from subject
Length: not available
Location Description: 6:00-7:00a.m.
Location Name: Swartz Bay Road and Land’s End Road, Victoria
General Remarks: The birds have just returned in the last two or three days. About seven of them seem to be in the tree. The one bird which was noisy was first at the nest and then standing on it. Another bird moved around the nest and then replaced the first bird by standing on or in it. The one in the branch beside the tree spread out the long plumes on the neck, lowered the head down below its perch and clicked the bill (heard on tape). There were five birds seen definitely in the tree but as the day wore on there may have been seven coming and going. It was hard to keep track. There are at least seven birds. The click or snap also appeared to be when a twig near the nest was broken but it did not fall and I did not see it taken in the bill. Background: Traffic not t Read More
Tape Number: M6.033(18c)
Recording Remarks: 15ips, Nagra III B, 40" Parabolic Reflector, AKG microphone, 220 feet from subject
Length: not available
Location Description: 6:00-7:00a.m.
Location Name: Swartz Bay Road and Land’s End Road, Victoria
General Remarks: The birds have just returned in the last two or three days. About seven of them seem to be in the tree. The one bird which was noisy was first at the nest and then standing on it. Another bird moved around the nest and then replaced the first bird by standing on or in it. The one in the branch beside the tree spread out the long plumes on the neck, lowered the head down below its perch and clicked the bill (heard on tape). There were five birds seen definitely in the tree but as the day wore on there may have been seven coming and going. It was hard to keep track. There are at least seven birds. The click or snap also appeared to be when a twig near the nest was broken but it did not fall and I did not see it taken in the bill. Background: Traffic not too bad, Bewick, Robin, Towhee, Pileated Woodpecker, squirrel very agitated. 
Date: 1963/03/02
Recorder: Grace Bell

Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.

Range
Canada Goose breeds from the Arctic coast of Alaska and northern Canada east to Labrador and Newfoundland and south to central California, northern Utah, southern Kansas, northern Arkansas, western Tennessee, western Kentucky, central Ohio, and rarely to Maine. Winters locally from southern Canada to northern Mexico and the Gulf Coast of the United States. Introduced in the British Isles, Iceland, and New Zealand.

Status in British Columbia
Very abundant spring and autumn migrant throughout the province; locally very common to very abundant in winter along the coast and in the southern interior. Resident populations established locally and increasing. Widespread breeder.

Breeding
The Canada Goose breeds throughout the province from sea level to 1,250 m elevation. During the past 2 decades, introduced populations have become established and are increasing throughout southern British Columbia. However, natural populations still exist, mostly north of latitude 52°N. The Canada Goose breeds in a variety of habitats, including inland and coastal marshes, islands in lakes, ponds, sloug Read More
Range
Canada Goose breeds from the Arctic coast of Alaska and northern Canada east to Labrador and Newfoundland and south to central California, northern Utah, southern Kansas, northern Arkansas, western Tennessee, western Kentucky, central Ohio, and rarely to Maine. Winters locally from southern Canada to northern Mexico and the Gulf Coast of the United States. Introduced in the British Isles, Iceland, and New Zealand.

Status in British Columbia
Very abundant spring and autumn migrant throughout the province; locally very common to very abundant in winter along the coast and in the southern interior. Resident populations established locally and increasing. Widespread breeder.

Breeding
The Canada Goose breeds throughout the province from sea level to 1,250 m elevation. During the past 2 decades, introduced populations have become established and are increasing throughout southern British Columbia. However, natural populations still exist, mostly north of latitude 52°N. The Canada Goose breeds in a variety of habitats, including inland and coastal marshes, islands in lakes, ponds, sloughs, rivers, tundra, muskeg, and man-made environments such as agricultural fields, reservoirs, sanctuaries, ditches and dykes, and sewage lagoons. All nesting habitats have a source of permanent water nearby. The Canada Goose usually breeds singly, but in refuges, sanctuaries, or on islands it will occasionally nest in loose colonies. Nests were usually mounds of grasses, reeds, cattail, sticks, leaves, twigs, mosses, and sedges; most were lined with down and fine grasses. Dates for clutches ranged from 13 March to 6 July, sizes for clutches ranged from 1 to 14 eggs, with a majority having 5 or 6 eggs.

Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose (Branta Canadensis)

The Royal British Columbia Museum
Canadian Heritage Information Network

Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.


Canada Goose Bird Song

The Royal British Columbia Museum
Canadian Heritage Information Network

Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.


Sonogram

The Sonogram of Canada Goose Song

The Royal British Columbia Museum
Canadian Heritage Information Network

Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.


Tape Number: M6.023(10c)
Recording Remarks: Nagra, 20" hand held Reflectors, AKG Microphone
Length: 02:53 (approximately)
Location Description: not available
Location Name: Near Oliver, BC
General Remarks: Single and plural Canada Geese. Warmer than previous few days. I was able to get right down to the water’s edge, which was not acceptable to the geese. Background: Robin, Quail, Traffic
Date: 1965/05/06
Recorder: Grace Bell
Tape Number: M6.023(10c)
Recording Remarks: Nagra, 20" hand held Reflectors, AKG Microphone
Length: 02:53 (approximately)
Location Description: not available
Location Name: Near Oliver, BC
General Remarks: Single and plural Canada Geese. Warmer than previous few days. I was able to get right down to the water’s edge, which was not acceptable to the geese. Background: Robin, Quail, Traffic
Date: 1965/05/06
Recorder: Grace Bell

Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.

Range
In North America, Mallard breeds from north-central and southwestern United States north to northern Alaska and the Northwest Territories excluding the Maritimes and eastern Arctic. Winters mainly from southern Canada south to central Mexico; also on the Pacific coast north to the Aleutian Islands. Also resident in Eurasia.

Status in British Columbia
Common to very abundant migrant. In winter, common to very abundant on the coast; locally common to abundant in the southern interior; locally rare to uncommon in the northern interior. Widespread breeder.

Breeding
The Mallard breeds in wetlands throughout British Columbia from sea level to 1,300 m elevation. Habitats include sloughs, marshes, lakes, swamps, islands, and riparian woodlands. In urban and rural environments, parks, golf courses, ditches, agricultural fields, vacant lots, and private yards are used wherever fresh water is near. The Mallard is a solitary breeder, but loose aggregations of up to 14 nests have been found on small islands near Creston. Most nests were shallow depressions in the ground filled with various qua Read More

Range
In North America, Mallard breeds from north-central and southwestern United States north to northern Alaska and the Northwest Territories excluding the Maritimes and eastern Arctic. Winters mainly from southern Canada south to central Mexico; also on the Pacific coast north to the Aleutian Islands. Also resident in Eurasia.

Status in British Columbia
Common to very abundant migrant. In winter, common to very abundant on the coast; locally common to abundant in the southern interior; locally rare to uncommon in the northern interior. Widespread breeder.

Breeding
The Mallard breeds in wetlands throughout British Columbia from sea level to 1,300 m elevation. Habitats include sloughs, marshes, lakes, swamps, islands, and riparian woodlands. In urban and rural environments, parks, golf courses, ditches, agricultural fields, vacant lots, and private yards are used wherever fresh water is near. The Mallard is a solitary breeder, but loose aggregations of up to 14 nests have been found on small islands near Creston. Most nests were shallow depressions in the ground filled with various quantities of down and loose accumulations of leaves, grasses, needles, sedges, or mosses. Sizes for 355 clutches ranged from 1 to 24 eggs with 52% having 8 to 10 eggs.

Remarks
The Mallard is the single most important game duck in British Columbia, and hunting seasons are planned around its migration and seasonal distribution. About 100,000 (55% of the duck harvest) are taken in British Columbia each year.


Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.

Mallard

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

The Royal British Columbia Museum
Canadian Heritage Information Network

Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.


Mallard Bird Song

The Royal British Columbia Museum
Canadian Heritage Information Network

Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.


Sonogram

Sonogram of Mallard Song

The Royal British Columbia Museum
Canadian Heritage Information Network

Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.


Tape Number: M6.001(06d)
Recording Remarks: 15 ips, Nagra, 50" Parabolic Reflector
Length: 01:10
Location Description: Mild, sunny, spring day
Location Name: Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, BC
General Remarks: Pairing of birds apparent. Agression and pursuit. Widgeon still numerous. 2 male Canvas Backs near. 2 mute Swans. Grass green; everything wet. Courting. Background: Gull, Widgeon, Canaries in aviary, traffic, wind in tall Firs, Cedars and other conifers.
Date: 1963/02/13
Recorder: Grace Bell
Tape Number: M6.001(06d)
Recording Remarks: 15 ips, Nagra, 50" Parabolic Reflector
Length: 01:10
Location Description: Mild, sunny, spring day
Location Name: Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, BC
General Remarks: Pairing of birds apparent. Agression and pursuit. Widgeon still numerous. 2 male Canvas Backs near. 2 mute Swans. Grass green; everything wet. Courting. Background: Gull, Widgeon, Canaries in aviary, traffic, wind in tall Firs, Cedars and other conifers.
Date: 1963/02/13
Recorder: Grace Bell

Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Become familiar with the appearance, song, ecology, and taxonomic groupings of Canadian water bird species, with particular reference to British Columbia
  • Understand the importance of field notes in ecology, and be aware of typical information found in such notes

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans