Hudsonian Godwit
American Goldfinch
Eastern Kingbird
Grasshopper Sparrow
Purple Martin
Ring-necked Pheasant
American Robin
Bay-breasted Warbler
Hooded Merganser
Northern Harrier
Yellow-throated Warbler
Northern Saw-whet-owl
Scarlet Tanager
Ring-necked Duck
Northern Shoveler
Belted Kingfisher
Snowy Owl
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Prairie Warbler
Broad-winged Hawk
Eastern Meadowlark
Black-bellied Plover
Horned Lark
Northern Parula
Laughing Gull
Magnolia Warbler
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Horned Grebe
Hooded Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler


The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) is responsible for protecting heron populations and tracking their distribution in the state.  The PGC is conducting a comprehensive survey of heron colonies.  The goal is to count all the nests of each species—Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron, and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron—at each site, creating a "snapshot" of the distribution of nesting herons statewide. If you know where herons are nesting, the PGC would appreciate hearing from you. Don't assume someone else will report local nests.

To get started, visit the PGC’s Heron Colony Observation Survey page. By following the protocol you'll ensure your fieldwork will help science and not disrupt nesting herons. Submit your completed survey forms to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

With such widely distributed species and limited resources, the PGC relies on the help of volunteers like you to improve our understanding of their distribution and numbers.  Even though many heron colonies are documented across the Commonwealth, you may know about colonies that the PGC does not. Your contributions are critical to improving PGC’s information and developing the most complete picture possible of the current status of Pennsylvania's heron populations. The information will be used to update the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program database and provide protection for colonies.

But remember: as much as we want all the nests counted, the birds come first.  Their nests should be monitored with binoculars from a safe distance. Do not approach nests.

For more information contact:

Patricia Barber, Endangered Species Biologist

Pennsylvania Game Commission

2001 Elmerton Avenue

Harrisburg, PA  17110-9797