Bird Sounds: Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron Calls

April 29, 2016
Great Blue Heron
Rodney Cammauf, U.S. National Park Service

Here you can identify the sounds and bird calls of the Great Blue Heron. Compliments of The Macaulay Library at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Click here to listen to the sounds of other birds!

Have you heard a Great Blue Heron? Add your comments below. Be sure to let us know where you live or where you’ve heard this bird sound before!


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Blue herons

Saw 1 on these a couple of weeks ago, Utah, Springville.. Have geese too. There.s a lot of them that fly by too. There's fields of grain and wild grass.

Great Blue Herons live in my backyard!!

I have a stream running through my backyard and have seen a Great Blue Heron several times. Now it’s summer and I hear him/her squawking! So cool! It’s night so can’t see, but hear him/her! Decatur, GA

Blue Heron

I saw a blue heron flying away from my small pond in Bridgton, Maine.

Great Blue Heron

Living near the Ohio River (halfway between Louisville and Cincinnati) I see these occasionally on the riverbank.

Great Blue Heron

While I was living in Aberdeen Wa., we rented a house on the Wishkah river. It had a resident mother and son heron. I had the delightful experience of looking out the kitchen window and seeing them flying up the river. Then I opened the window to hear them and I thought I was in a Time Warp. They sounded like prehistoric birds. I never heard anything like that before, except in the movies. It was awesome. I adapted my morning routine so that I could see them every morning, flying up the river in the predawn mist, and hear them calling. I really felt like I had stepped back in time.

Blue Heron sound

I live in Myrtle Beach SC. The swash runs down and behind my house throughout the neighborhood. One Blue Heron in particular has a special spot year round. Beautifully majestic birds. I love listening to them in the mornings.

I've heard the Great Blue

I've heard the Great Blue Heron. They look and croak like teradactyls as they fly by over our lake in FL. When they're not up to their tail in the water fishing, I realized they are as tall as me.

I have these out by my

I have these out by my apartment all the time in the summer...I guess they migrate because we never see them in the winter.
Beautiful birds.

Bird Sounds-Call of the Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Herons are most my favorite bird. They are beautiful and majestic. The first time I saw this bird was at Hueston Woods in Oxford, Ohio about 10 years ago. Since then I have seen them all around my area in Fairfield, Ohio. You can see them at the Great Miami River, and even smaller ponds at business centers. Since the very time I saw one I have been intrigued by them and set out to watch them as often as possible.
Everything about them is graceful and elegant, from the way they stand in the water very still then in a instant faster than your eye can keep up with they dunk theirs heads in the water and catch a little fish. Then their graceful smooth movements of their large wings when they take flight is a sight to see as well. You can always tell when it is a Great Blue Heron flying in the sky because they do not tuck their long legs under their body, but yet they will be outstretched behind them when in flight. I have found that if you are still enough and patient enough they will allow you to get quite close to them in a kayak before flying off, as my daughter and I have done many times in hope of getting a closer view of these very large birds. Their voice that I more commonly heard is more of a honk, similar to that of Canadian Geese, but really prettier, not so duck-like if you will. It is a bit higher pitched and longer in general. It is also much louder and predominant, meaning that you will notice it when you hear it. I would like to mention that my daughter and I have also been lucky enough to see Great White Egrets a few times at Hueston Woods also. I have a farmer friend in KY that has been lucky enough to have a Great Blue Heron rookery on his property and they return every spring. This is really amazing to see! Every year there are more nests than the previous year and to watch the hatch-lings grow and then take off is a real blessing. Some of the birds have even been identifiable year after year as the same returning birds. His farm was featured in magazines several years in a row as reporters come to witness this amazing sight. I have heard different type of calls at this rookery, many of the same honk type noise, but different in length, pitch and exclamatory purpose. I encourage anyone interested in birds, even if unfamiliar with the Great Blue Heron to try and find these great beauties and learn about them as they are easily awe-inspiring whether on the ground or in the air.
Also, I would like to add that over the years I have been lucky enough to notice that in my area we seem to be having a real population increase in Peregrine Falcons. I have noticed many flying around my area and their stealthy air movements and air dives are a real sight to treasure. One last thing, Great Blue Herons can be seen all year long here in Ohio. they are not definitive in being migratory or non-migratory birds. They pretty much go with the flow and if they need to migrate they eventually will. But, every year I have been able to see them in the winter as well.

I have an hour of video in a

I have an hour of video in a rookery, but can't distinguish the GBH call. I will put the video up on my YouTube channel: caliclips May 17th, perhaps someone with a better ear can identify the heron calling.