Nests & Eggs: Green Heron

Plate 42: Green Heron

Butorides virescens

Found at the edges of ponds and creeks crouching in wait for food.

Anyone who spends time near a lake, pond or stream will find this small heron, for it is there that he secures the minnows, frogs and crayfish which form the major portion of his diet. His favorite method is to stand quietly on a partly submerged log where fish are feeding within reach of his long neck and bill. A quick thrust and one course is served. At other times you will see him sneaking carefully up to the water’s edge, where some slight ripple indicates the movement of fish or frogs.

This bird is small, measuring only 16 to 22 inches in length, but appears even smaller until he extends his long chestnut-colored neck. At a distance he appears to be black but a closer view shows a bluish or greenish tinge to the feathers, depending on lighting conditions. His legs are short and range from greenish to almost orange in color, depending on the season.

The Green Heron builds a loosely-constructed nest, usually not more than 20 feet above the ground, but often some distance from water. They are inclined to nest singly, but may form loose colonies when abundant. The 3 to 5 eggs are greenish in color and can usually be seen thru the frail structure which these birds consider home.

Introduction to Our Bird Friends, Vol. 2
  • Print out the notebooking pages provided below.
  • Read the green heron story in Birds Every Child Should Know out loud.
  • Have a younger student orally narrate what was read. He can then copy a few lines of his narration onto the notebooking pages.
  • Older students can read the text, Plate XLII: Green Heron, and provide a written narration.
  • Sketch the bird. This encourages attention to detail, which will aid in identifying the bird later on. Another option is to use the printables provided below.
  • Sketch the nest of the bird, along with the eggs. Note where the nest is usually found.
  • Older students can include the taxonomy.
  • Learn more about the green heron at Cornell.
  • On one notebooking page note the facts:
    • Description.
    • Habitat.
    • Range.
    • Food.
    • Nest.
    • Eggs.
    • Call.
Additional Resources

30 Narration Ideas
At some point you might appreciate some variety.

The Bird Study sections of our free nature study series: Our Wonderful World:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Printables & Notebooking Pages

Green Heron Notebooking Pages
Free simple notebooking set.

Green Heron
Bird picture for notebook.

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book
Dover Nature Coloring Book based on Fifty Birds of Town and City by Bob Hines. Includes the green heron.

Green Heron Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
One option in a more graphic organizer style that is especially nice for noting the facts and range.

Enjoy the entire series:
Nest & Eggs ~ Intro & Free eBook
Free Bird Studies: Nests & Eggs ~ Complete Series

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