Although green herons (Butorides virescens) are widespread, the population is estimated to have declined by 68% during 1966-2014 (Sauer et al. 2014), and consequently, they’re considered a “common bird in steep decline” (Cornell University 2019). The green heron is also listed as moderate conservation concern in Alabama.
In 2020, we began a project monitoring green herons in Alabama. By monitoring individuals and nests in urban and natural areas, we hope to get a better understanding of how development and disturbance pressures influence habitat use and reproductive success. We also plan to band adults and young to learn more about individual habitat use, movements, and site fidelity. The results of the study can be used to inform urban planners and develop conservation plans for green herons in Alabama.
Yellow-crowned night-herons (Nycticorax violaceus) are numerous but difficult to survey, therefore no definitive information on the population trend is available (Watts 2020). The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan lists yellow-crowned night-herons as a species of moderate concern.
We added yellow-crowned night-herons to our monitoring and banding project in 2021. As with green herons, we hope to learn more about the species’ habitat use and reproductive success across the state.
Join the team!
Interested in helping with this project? We’re looking for some dedicated volunteers to help us find, monitor, and record data on green herons and yellow-crowned night-herons throughout the state. Check out our volunteer page here to join our Community Science volunteers, or email our Science & Conservation Director for more information. Have you seen a green heron or yellow-crowned night-heron? Share your sighting with us here.