Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Department name when degree awarded


Committee Chair(s)

J. S. Stanford


J. S. Stanford


Herons are well known because of their gregarious nesting habits. Like many others of the lower orders of birds they nest together in pure or mixed colonies of many different combinations and under diverse living conditions. The population of different colonies may vary from a few pairs to many thousands of pairs depending upon the nature and extent of the breeding area, the food supply available and the protection afforded either by natural or artificial means.

In Utah and adjacent areas of bordering states, many types of heron associations have been studied and reported by ornithological workers. reeding colonies of Treganza Herons, Black Crowned Night Herons and Snowy Herons in pure species associations and mixed communities have been recorded. The tendency of herons to associate with other unrelated orders of birds in nesting situations has also been noted. Such colonies as the Gull-Pelican-Heron associations of the Great Salt Lake Islands and the Heron-Cormorant communities of Cache Valley and Bass Pond Reservoir support this observation. At least eight different communal associations involving herons in the nesting season are known in Utah.

The question of the economic status of herons has long been debated among ornithologists and those engaged in the propagation of wild life, especially fish culture. The fish eating propensities of herons are known all over the world. In some regions the birds are condemned as a menace by the sportsman and in other areas they are considered to be his benefactors. Adequate studies have not been published to definitely establish the economic status of this group of birds.

It is the purpose of this thesis to contribute to the knowledge of Ornithology by a presentation of the writer's observations and findings on a colony of nesting herons, noting, especially, certain factors influencing the behavior of the birds, their relationships to other animals of the community, economic importance and development of the colony.




This work made publicly available electronically on April 24, 2012.

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