In a busy corner of Stanley Park, right by a half-dozen tennis courts and the Vancouver Park Board office, dozens of great blue herons have set up shop once again, building their nests in towering trees.
It’s an unusual spot for a heron colony, with tennis players whacking balls and people walking and biking on nearby paths. But the human activity doesn’t seem to bother the herons. This is the 13th year the herons have been nesting in the same spot in the Vancouver, B.C., park, their numbers growing each year. Last year, 86 pairs of nesting herons were counted, with an estimated 169 fledglings.
It’s a dramatic natural sight in the big city, with the big birds swooping in and out of the nests and a cacophony of calls as the hormone-raging males court the females. To see the herons, find your way to the park board office (see the map) in the southwest corner of Stanley Park at 2099 Beach Avenue, just a half block from the popular Sylvia Hotel on English Bay.
The Stanley Park Ecology Society watches over the birds, putting barriers on the tree trunks so racoons can’t climb to the nests and feast on the eggs (or the young birds). The group also fences off the area beneath the trees so humans can’t intrude or get nesting debris (and more) dumped on their heads.