"This species is more generally known than any of our Herons, it being very extensively dispersed in spring, summer, and early autumn. It ranges along our many rivers to great distances from the sea, being common on the Missouri and its branches, from which it spreads to all such localities as are favourable to its habits. To the north of the United States, however, it is very seldom seen, it being of rare occurrence even in Nova Scotia. At the approach of winter it retires to the Floridas and Lower Louisiana, where individuals, however, reside all the year, and many remove southward beyond the limits of our country. I have observed their return in early spring, when arriving in flocks of from twenty to fifty individuals. They would plunge downwards from their elevated line of march, cutting various zigzags, until they would all simultaneously alight on the tops of the trees or bushes of some swampy place, or on the borders of miry ponds. These halts took place pretty regularly about an hour after sunrise. The day was occupied by them, as well as by some other species, especially the Blue, the Yellow-crowned, and Night Herons, all of which at this period travelled eastward, in resting, cleansing their bodies, and searching for food. When the sun approached the western horizon, they would at once ascend in the air, arrange their lines, and commence their flight, which, I have no doubt, continued all night."
J. J. Audubon