Range. - United States and southern British provinces, breeding in the northern half of the United States and wintering in the southern portion.
This species, with its mottled rusty brownish plumage, is one of the best known of the Heron family. It is known locally by a great many names, nearly all of which have reference to the "booming" or "pumping" sound made during the mating season. They build their nests in swampy or marshy places, placing them on the ground, frequently on a tussock, entirely surrounded by water. The nest proper is only a few grasses twisted about to form a lining to the hollow. They lay from three to five eggs of brownish drab. Size 1.95 x 1.50.
They do not breed in colonies, generally, but one or two pairs nesting in one marsh. Data. - Worcester, Mass., June 3, 1897. Four eggs laid in a grass lined hollow in middle of a hummock of earth and grass, in middle of marsh. Collector, James Jackson.