As warmer weather, sunshine, and spring arrive at Stanley Park, the Pacific great blue heron colony is turning its attention to raising chicks. Most of the nests visible in the Heron Cam are hosting birds actively raising chicks.
Typically, the herons lay between 2-4 eggs. It takes 28 days for the chicks to start hatching. The first eggs appeared in the colony on March 9th; and the first chicks hatched on cue on April 8th! With every day that passes, more and more chicks hatch. In the meantime, the herons are continuing to build and improve their nests. You can watch the male birds flying back to their nests carrying branches and twigs. The male passes it to the female, who then carefully weaves it into the nest. Come to the heron colony by the tennis courts to check out all the action yourself.
In March, Stanley Park Ecology Society’s conservation team started conducting “nest disturbance surveys.” We are trying to gather data on noise thresholds by monitoring the herons’ behaviour. We hope to be able to establish guidelines for noise levels around this urban colony to minimize negative human impact on the birds.
To help raise awareness and inspire future conservationists, we brought a wonderful and curious group of SPES Spring Break Day Campers to the colony. They learned about the natural history of the birds. Inspired by the herons, the campers created their own “Heron Dance.” It is super cute, and you can watch it here.
We are excited to watch this new generation of Pacific great blue herons grow and develop throughout the summer. Come by the colony yourself for a live look at these impressive animals. And if you’d like to support our heron colony monitoring efforts in the Park, please consider our Adopt a Heron Nest program!
– By Greg Hart, SPES Urban Wildlife Coordinator