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 Black-crowned Night-Heron

Status in Michigan
Fairly Common Transient summer resident

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Black-crowned Night-Heron.

Use the links below to view the Black-crowned Night-Heron reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Black-crowned Night-Heron sightings.
Black-crowned Night-Heron Archives Reports
Fall 2003 48
Spring 2003 46
Winter 02-03 21
Fall 2002 15
Summer 2002 24
Spring 2002 16
Winter 01-02 2
Fall 2001 128
Summer 2001 5
Spring 2001 21
Winter 00-01 0
Fall 2000 20
Summer 2000 7
Spring 2000 61
Winter 00-99 2
Fall 1999 16
Spring/Summer 1999 17

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Black-crowned Night-Heron

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Black-crowned Night-Heron
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Nycticorax nycticorax hoactii (Gmelin)
Black-crowned Night Heron (A.O.U. 1998: Black-crowned Night-Heron)

Summer resident, common locally in the southeastern part of the Lower Peninsula. Recorded in winter in Wayne County.

First authoritatively listed for Michigan by Gibbs (1879:493).

SPRING.-Individuals occasionally arrive in late March or early April; the main flight occurs after the middle of April. L. W. Campbell (1940:185; 199) has recorded individuals in the Toledo-Erie marsh area as early as March 18 (1939), but gave April 7 as the average date of arrival for individuals in that area and April 21 for main flight. The species has occasionally been reported in the first week of April in the Ann Arbor area (April 4 in 1932 and 1939). G. A. Ammann saw 2 at the Prairie Farm, Alicia, Saginaw County, on April 2, 1940, and Maurice G. Brooks saw 1 along the Saginaw River in Bay County on March 17, 1939.

SUMMER.-Eggs of the Black-crowned Night Heron are occasionally found in early April, but more often in the latter part of April and early May. On April 16, 1916, J. E. Swackhamer found a breeding colony of 350 pairs east of the mouth of the Saginaw River, Bay County-the first definite breeding record for Michigan. Since that time numerous other heronries have been discovered in the southeastern part of the Lower Peninsula. L. "W. Campbell (1940: 35-36) and J. J. Stophlet examined a colony of about 175 pairs in the Erie marsh; in 1938 and 1939 they found eggs as early as April 5; by the end of May there were newly hatched young and fledglings. A heronry at the North Shores Park, Monroe County, contained 50 birds in 1926 and 1927 (L. W. Campbell) and 20 occupied nests in 1929 (N. A. Wood). A. E. Staebler discovered a nesting colony of 30 birds in the Ann Arbor vicinity on April 13,1936; on May 3 of the same year R. E. Morrill counted 20 nests in the colony, and the following year he counted about 150 birds present there on April 24. South of Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County, a 15- to 20-nest colony was observed by Edith Hoyle and Van Tyne on July 14,1941, and at Edison Lake near the same town a small colony was discovered by T. L. Hankinson in 1930. Walter E. Hastings found a breeding colony of 183 nests with eggs on Harsen's Island, St. Clair County, on May 15, 1921. Miller Empey and J. E. Swaekhamer reported a colony of about 240 pairs near Fish Point, Tuscola County, on June 12, 1934. Two other heronries have been reported by Empey and Swaekhamer in Bay County: 1 in Frankenlust Township, where 200 to 300 pairs have nested since 1930; 1 in Kawkawlin Township, variously estimated to contain 450 to 575 pairs of birds yearly since 1934. A heronry discovered in 1916 by Swaekhamer near Essexville, Bay County, was examined by Van Tyne and T. L. Hankinson on June 23, 1926, who found more than 100 pairs of birds there. This heronry was destroyed shortly afterward.

No nesting data have been reported from the western part of the peninsula, although both young and old birds have been seen there in late summer. In Jackson County, R. E. Olsen saw 20 adults and young at Portage Lake, on July 19, 1936. Pirnie reported frequent occurrence during July and August in the Gull Lake area, Kalamazoo County, and 3 individuals were seen near Delton, Barry County, by Walkinshaw on August 24,1930.

FALL.-The southward migration occurs mainly in September and October. Durward L. Alien found a few Black-crowned Night Herons still present at Augusta, Kalamazoo County, on October 23, 1936. B. E. Olsen reported 15 at Portage Lake, Jackson County, on October 4, 1936, and Fargo saw 1 at Hillsdale, Hillsdale County, on November 23, 1924. Departure from the Ann Arbor area has been reported in late September and in October; a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) was collected there on October 26,1908, by R. D. T. Hollister. J. C. Salyer secured a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) at Northville, Wayne County, on October 30, 1931. In the Toledo-Erie marsh area, L. W. Campbell (1940: 185; 199) has found individuals remaining until October 17 (average date) and once as late as December 8 (1928); September 25 is the average date for main flight from that area.

WINTER.-Two immature birds were seen from mid-January to January 26,1941, on Grosse He, Wayne County, by M. T. Sturgeon (1941:22).

Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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