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Nature Birdwatching Guides

The Great Blue Heron

A Natural History and Ecology of a Seashore Sentinel

by (author) Robert Butler

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Sep 1997
Birdwatching Guides, Ornithology, Oceans & Seas, Rivers
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 1997
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 1999
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 1999
    List Price

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Out of print

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With its striking plumage, the great blue heron is one of the most widely recognized wading birds in North America. Riding on kelp beds in the Queen Charlotte Islands, wading in coastal streams along the mainland, poised motionless at the water’s edge on a misty morning, or nesting in the limbs of old-growth forests, this stately bird is a familiar sight on the coast of British Columbia. The largest colonies are on the Fraser River delta, an area of great ecological significance to the north Pacific. Despite a growing body of knowledge regarding many aspects of the species’ breeding biology and courtship behaviour, the foraging and population ecology of this bird remains something of an enigma. In his beautifully illustrated book, Robert Butler follows the great blue heron through a year on the coast of British Columbia. He draws on more than a decade of work to throw light on the adaptability of this magnificent bird to a temperate climate, its diet and breeding habits, habitat use, and conservation. Although the great blue heron has become a symbol of wetland conservation, in recent years it has had to face new challenges as a consequence of rapid urbanization of its environment. In The Great Blue Heron the author also describes the B.C. coast and shares a vision for the conservation of the Strait of Georgia and the Fraser River delta.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Dr. Robert W. Butler is a Research Scientist with the Canadian Wildlife Service, and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University.

Editorial Reviews

The Great Blue Heron is a wonderful book devoted to the ecology, natural history and conservation of a magnificent BC waterbird. With its abundance of detail and many beautiful photographs, this book will fascinate anyone with an interest in ornithology or conservation issues ... [Butler’s] wealth of knowledge concerning biology and his direct experience with great blue herons means his book is not only a detailed scientific account, but also an engaging look into the way field research is carried out ... Butler’s text is clear, well explained, and well referenced ... While conservation books are quite popular these days, Robert Butler’s book stands out from most because of the clear and informative writing style, local interest, and its focus on one species ... The Great Blue Heron is a well written and informative book which has been beautifully constructed and will make a nice addition to anyone’s bookshelf.

Discovery, Vancouver Natural History Society, Vol. 27, No. 2, June 1998

If you have any interest in great blues or in the place they live (our collective backyard), this book is indispensable and fascinating.

Vancouver Sun

An elegant volume, from the foreword by the artist Robert Bateman, to the superb photography of Tim Fitzharris, and the text is written in a breezy style that is obviously intended for a general readership ... This book should appeal to a wide audience, one beyond just those interested in ardeid biology.

The Auk

Other titles by Robert Butler