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Enhanced camera now live streaming ultimate close-ups of Stanley Park herons

March 3 2016

“The new and improved heron cam will provide ultimate close-ups of at risk Pacific great blue herons, and a continued rare opportunity for urbanites to connect with nature," said Vancouver Park Board Chair Sarah Kirby-Yung.

Photograph by Martin Passchier

Vancouver’s best nature show is better than ever! The Vancouver Park Board heron cam—installed last year—has now been improved to provide better and clearer close-up views of the Pacific great blue herons.
 
The heron cam takes you inside the nests of one of North America’s largest urban great blue heron colonies until the end of the summer breeding season.

“The new and improved heron cam will provide ultimate close-ups of at risk Pacific great blue herons, and a continued rare opportunity for urbanites to connect with nature. The camera was wildly popular last year with almost 100,000 views of the herons’ courtship, mating rituals, nest building, and egg-laying,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Sarah Kirby-Yung.

View the herons and learn more

New camera features

The newly installed HD camera provides greatly enhanced optical and digital capability for live viewing of the Stanley Park heron colony. The close-up views of these magnificent birds are twelve times better and clearer than with the Park Board’s first generation heron camera.

You can take control of the camera for short periods of time and zoom into specific nests.

Join the conversation

Ask questions of a biologist via Twitter using the hashtag #HeronTalk .

About the herons

The herons returned again in early February to the trees near 2099 Beach Avenue for the sixteenth consecutive year. These herons are a species at risk in Canada, and the Stanley Park colony is a vital part of the south coast population. One-third of great blue herons worldwide live around the Salish Sea.

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 the shoreline of English Bay.

How the heron cam supports the Biodiversity and Vancouver Bird strategies

In February 2016, the Park Board approved a comprehensive Biodiversity Strategy to guide ongoing work to protect and expand natural areas throughout the city. The enrichment of habitat for urban wildlife, such as the herons, is fundamental to the Biodiversity Strategy ​ (5.28 MB).

The heron cam supports the Vancouver Bird Strategy, providing education and celebrating Vancouver's birds.

Stanley Park Ecology Society monitoring program

The heron cam is a collaborative effort between the Park Board and Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) .

Maria Egerton, Conservation Projects Manager at SPES said: “We’re really excited to use this new technology to get an even more intimate view of herons. This unique angle provides another opportunity to collect data for our heron monitoring program.”

Last year, the colony’s nest success was the highest since 2007. Based on monitoring data, it is estimated the colony produced 175 fledgling herons in 2015.

Protecting the heron colony

The gates of the fenced areas below the heronry are secured to reduce disturbances to the colony and protect passers-by from falling debris. Wrap-around barriers were applied to the nest trees to discourage predators, such as raccoons, from disturbing nests. Please remember to keep your dog on a leash around the colony.

The Stanley Park Ecology Society has an Adopt a Heron Nest program that supports efforts to:

  • Educate
  • Monitor and maintain the great blue heron
  • Protect the herons' home in Stanley Park

Adopt a nest now 


Note to editors/producers: View photos of the Stanley Park herons 

 Please credit photographer.