Stanley Park is home to one of the largest urban Pacific Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias fannini) colonies in North America. They have been nesting at their current location near 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 commonplace.
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.
Navigate our helpful pages on information and resources around this colony:
|Adopt a Heron Nest||For $54, you may symbolically adopt a heron nest to support their conservation. Register one in your name, as a gift, or in honour of a loved one!|
|Stanley Park Heron Cam||A live-streaming camera was set up by the Vancouver Park Board in 2015 and has since treated us to the best views of the herons’ milestones and daily antics. Sneak a peek—though the camera is only live during the breeding season (March-August).|
|Frequently Asked Questions||Let us answer your burning questions about the colony, heron biology, their conservation status, and more.|
|2021 Stanley Park Heronry Annual Report||Another Stanley Park heron nesting season has concluded with positive observations|
from this year’s monitoring efforts. This is the 21st consecutive year the Great Blue
Herons have returned to this location since 2001.
|Survey Limitations and Methods||Learn more about our heron colony monitoring methodology, the limitations we face, and why we chose the methods we use.|
|Breeding Season Timeline||How does a heron colony progress through the breeding season? What does a heron chick “glow-up” look like? Find out right here, with lots of cool pictures.|
|History of Stanley Park’s Herons||Stanley Park has been valued real estate for heron families for at least the last century, but they didn’t always nest near the tennis courts. Get an historical look into the Park’s colonies through the years.|
|Film: “Flying Dinosaurs in the City”||Local filmmaker, biologist, and SPES volunteer Maria Morlin shares an intimate look at herons of the Lower Mainland in this 55-minute documentary.|