Great Blue Heron, Nest Building
Bird Photography,  National Parks,  Nature,  Travel

Photographing the Great Blue Heron Rookery at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Photographing Great Blue Herons at a rookery provides many good photo opportunities.  Photographs can be taken of the Great Blue Herons in flight, building their nests, courting, caring for their young, and squabbling with each other.

The Herons begin arriving at the Bath Road Great Blue Heron Rookery in late February and Early March.  The Great Blue Herons nest in a grove of large Sycamore Trees.  The Cuyahoga River is also near by for the birds to fish.

Great Blue Heron Delivering a Stick to the Nest

Heron Rookery Location

The rookery is located on West Bath Road between Riverview Road and Akron Peninsula Road.  The GPS coordinates for the Great Blue Heron Rookery are 41.162954,-81.571019.  There is a wide pull off on the left hand side of the road for parking.  The best location is across the street between the guard rail and the chain link fence.


The lighting can be difficult at the rookery.  The only views of the heron rookery are from the north so the birds will be side lit and may be in the shadows. With a little observation and practice, you can find the right spots to photograph the birds depending on the time of day.  I prefer the late afternoon to photograph herons at the rookery.

Photo Opportunities

The herons will be constantly flying back and forth carrying sticks for their nests in their mouths.  So there will be plenty of opportunities for birds in flight photos.   Another good photo is to capture the male and female Great Blue Herons exchanging the sticks for the nest. The female heron seems to have the final say on the placement of the stick.  It is also better to photograph the herons in March before the leaves come out on the trees.

Great Blue Heron in the Tree Tops

Photography Equipment

A longer telephoto such as a 500mm is beneficial to photograph the herons at the rookery and get closer shots of the birds in the nests.  However, there are plenty of flyovers by the herons where a shorter telephoto such as a 300mm would work.

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