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March 12, 2013 at 6:30 AM

They’re back: Nesting herons claim a popular corner of Vancouver’s Stanley Park

Heron colony - courting male


A great blue heron stands tall in a nest at Stanley Park. (Photo by Michael Schmidt, Stanley Park Ecology Society).

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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.

Heron colony on Park Lane looking towards Nelson Street

Hereon nests are turning up in trees in Stanley Park, near the high rises that overlook the park. (Michael Schmidt photo, SPES)

 

 

Comments | More in Northwest | Topics: B.C., great blue herons, stanley park

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