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Friday, March 19, 2010

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Thanks to a suggestion from a visitor to this site, I went to Cuthbert Holmes Park yesterday where some Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) are nesting in a group known as a heronry. Local users of the park helpfully guided me to the best location to view the birds. I saw about a dozen of these large nests while I was there but there are probably more since quite a few are located in living trees and are hard to see because they are hidden by the foliage. In years gone by this heronry has been under attack by Bald Eagles who swoop down on the heron nestlings. While I was there an eagle cruised slowly overhead. Though he was a long ways above, sailing peacefully along, all the herons took flight and began circling around their nesting area and making loud calls. A regular visitor to the park told me that she had to curtail her visits to the park last year because of the heartrending scenes arising from the eagle attacks.

The visitor mentioned above, Mike Laplante, has also blogged some of his photos of these birds with some interesting background information, HERE.


Dean Lewis said...

Yikes, that would be gut-wrenching.
Same thing happened in Beacon Hill Park a couple years ago, driving dozens of herons out.
Some even made an effort to re-nest in James Bay neighbourhood. I never heard if they were able to return or not.
BHP had been one of the largest groupings around.

Mike Laplante said...

I thought heron nests were known as a rookery but I'm no expert.

Dean, I think these birds in Cuthbert Holmes are the ones that fled Beacon Hill. I've lived in the area for nearly 20 years and they've only just shown up here.

FWIW, my photos are at: (personal blog)
and (public blog).

Chuck Pefley said...

Looks like this fellow/gal has been fishing recently. Nice image, Benjamin.

JoJo said...

Nature is really brutal sometimes. Beautiful pictures!