Heron colony rallies after eagle raids

If you’re a birder or just bird curious, you can spot Stanley Park’s young great blue herons wading along Lower Mainland shores right now. 

The breeding season this year at the Stanley Park great blue heron colony was one filled with worry marked by significant eagle predation on the heron eggs early on.  However, the herons double clutched and produced a second round of eggs.  And, many of the chicks from this second attempt were raised successfully.  There was relief this year when the number of young birds successfully fledging were more in line with the average success rates of previous years.

Heron nest and chicks in Stanley Park (Photo: Park Board/Heron Cam)

With the later start to the breeding season, the birds quickly paired up and started mating.  Monitors spotted the first eggs in the nests using the Vancouver Park Board’s Heron Cam on March 28th.  Then, at the end of the season in early August, we estimated the colony produced a total of 98 fledglings.  This is near the 10 year average of 2.06 chicks per successful nest. For the full heron colony report, click here.

We hope you had the opportunity to watch the young heron families on the Vancouver Park Board’s Heron Cam or in person with Stanley Park Ecology Society’s on-the-ground weekly interpretation of the colony. 

The Pacific great blue heron is a species at risk due to habitat loss.  You can help support our heron monitoring and education efforts by symbolically Adopting a Heron Nest for the 2019 season.

Thank you volunteers for your efforts in counting great blue herons throughout the year—in all kinds of weather.  Many thanks to the Vancouver Park Board for their support with the Heron Cam and website: https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/heron-cam.aspx.  These tools allow thousands of people from all over the world to connect with nature and view these magnificent birds.

By Celina Starnes, Public Education & Outreach Manager