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Pacific great blue herons return to Stanley Park after successful 2012 season

March 7 2013

Pacific great blue herons nesting in Stanley Park

The Pacific great blue herons have returned to their current nest site in Stanley Park for the 13th consecutive year.

They began arriving in the past week to the trees that tower above the Park Board's Administrative Offices and the tennis courts.

Last year, 117 nests were counted in the colony and 86 of these were occupied by heron pairs. In total, an estimated 169 young herons fledged from the colony in 2012, 69 more than in 2011 and 49 more than in 2010. Volunteer monitors work with Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) staff who pass on the data to researchers with the Canadian Wildlife Service and BC Ministry of Environment.

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

The Pacific great blue heron has been designated “special concern” by the Species at Risk Act. According to the SPES report, the Stanley Park colony seems to thrive in the face of human disturbance, but “in other parts of our region development is infringing on much of the heron’s habitat.”

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.

You can get images of Stanley Park’s Pacific great blue herons from SPES by calling 604-718-6523, or emailing sponsors@stanleyparkecology.ca or conservation@stanleyparkecology.ca.

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Stanley Park

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