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Best nature show in town - the heron cam is now live

March 18 2015

“The heron cam was installed to raise awareness of the herons. Providing education about and celebrating Vancouver’s birds are primary objectives of the Vancouver Bird Strategy,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair John Coupar.

Pacific great blue heron
Photograph by Martin Passchier

The Vancouver Park Board heron cam is now streaming the intimate lives of the tall, long-legged Pacific great blue herons of Stanley Park, home to one of North America’s largest urban great blue heron colonies.

The heron cam takes you inside the nests of these magnificent birds for:

  • Courtship and mating rituals
  • Nest building
  • Egg laying

Watch as chicks hatch and the parents fend off predators such as eagles and raccoons.

Watch the heron cam now

About the heron cam

“A remotely-controlled wireless camera is mounted on the roof of a nearby building providing a ‘bird’s-eye-view’ of the herons,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair John Coupar. “The heron cam was installed to raise awareness of the herons. Providing education about and celebrating Vancouver’s birds are primary objectives of the Vancouver Bird Strategy.”

The heron camera has been set up to provide close-ups of several nests. These nests were chosen because they're the most visible and should remain that way once trees leaf out. Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) monitors about 25 nests throughout the season to determine the overall productivity and nesting success of the entire colony.

The Stanley Park herons

The herons returned last month to the trees near 2099 Beach Avenue for the 15th consecutive year.The first eggs of the season are expected to hatch in early April. The herons lay two to five eggs, which incubate for 28-days. Herons leave the colony by late August and disperse to local feeding grounds, such as Lost Lagoon, False Creek, the Fraser River, and Iona Beach.

The herons have been a feature of Stanley Park since at least 1921, when the first colony was reported near Brockton Point. They moved to their current location in 2001. The Stanley Park herons are an important chunk of the total population considering there are only 4,000-5,000 in all of Canada. The Pacific great blue heron has been designated “special concern” by the Species at Risk Act.

How the herons are protected in the park

The gates of the fenced areas below the heronry are secured to reduce disturbances to the colony and protect passers-by from falling debris. In 2010, wrap-around barriers were applied to the nest trees to discourage predators, such as raccoons, from climbing them. Dog owners are reminded to keep pets leashed in order to avoid disturbing the nest area.

Ask an expert about the herons

Comment and ask questions of a bird expert through Twitter using the hashtag  #herontalk

Adopt a nest

SPES has an Adopt a Heron Nest program which supports efforts to learn more about the amazing great blue herons and to protect their homes within Stanley Park.

How we are working to have native birds thrive in Vancouver

Red-winged blackbird

Vancouver Bird Strategy

The Vancouver Bird Strategy will work to create conditions for native birds to thrive in Vancouver.

Get a bird's-eye-view of the Pacific great blue herons

View the Stanley Park herons during the mating season on our heron cam.

Watch heron cam