Golden Gate Park

Great Blue Herons Return to Stow Lake

By Nancy DeStefanis

For the 26th year, great blue herons have returned to Stow Lake. They currently occupy six nests.

The herons first arrived in 1993 and constructed one nest. Last year, six nests were successful and produced seventeen chicks – the all time record at Stow Lake. To date, 211 chicks have learned to fly at Stow Lake.

blue heron edited

Great blue heron flying above Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. Photo by David Sullivan.

Starting April 13, San Francisco Nature Education will conduct its annual free program for the adults and children. “Heron Watch” will be held on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers equipped with high-powered spotting scopes will provide a close-up look at the birds and their dinosaur-like chicks and explain heron behavior. The program continues through June 15.

Follow signs at the Stow Lake Boathouse or download a map at

Experts will lead nature walks every Saturday, 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. around Strawberry Island. Children are free, adults $10.

For more information, call (415) 205-0776, email info@sfnature.orgor visit

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