Stanley Park is home to one of the largest urban great blue heron (Ardea herodias fannini) colonies in North America. They have been nesting at their current location behind 2099 Beach Avenue since 2001 and have been documented nesting in various other locations in Stanley Park as far back as 1921. Today, sightings of these majestic birds in and around the park are common place.
Unfortunately, this is not the case everywhere and these birds are classified as a species at risk in BC. This subspecies of heron does not migrate. As they have difficulty finding undisturbed habitat and nesting sites, their population has declined across the province. Some colonies, including the Stanley Park heronry, have become accustomed to the presence of humans, but this is rare as human disturbance commonly causes birds to abandon their nesting areas. Raccoons, owls and bald eagles are natural predators of the eggs and young.
The Stanley Park Ecology Society has been monitoring the heronry in Stanley Park since 2004 and has worked with the Vancouver Park Board and the Canadian Wildlife Service to support herons in their urban environment. The creation of a Stanley Park great blue heron management plan was a giant step towards the successful management of this species.
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