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Pacific great blue herons now nesting in Stanley Park

March 14 2017

“The herons visited the colony on several occasions for short periods of time, but didn’t stay put until March 11, three weeks later than last year,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Michael Wiebe.

They’re back!

The Pacific great blue herons are now starting to claim nests in the colony located across from the tennis courts and above the parking lot at 2099 Beach Avenue in Stanley Park. It’s the 17th consecutive year they’ve returned to the same nesting site.

About the heron cam

The Park Board's 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. 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 herons visited the colony on several occasions for short periods of time, but didn’t stay put until March 11, three weeks later than last year,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Michael Wiebe. “We encourage everyone to come check them out and then use the Heron Cam to continue admiring them from home.”   

Last year, the birds began nesting in the colony February 19. There were 83 active nests and an estimated 138 fledglings were raised. Chicks left the colony in July for nearby feeding grounds such as Iona Beach and Boundary Bay.

You can take control of the camera for short periods of time and zoom into specific nests, as well as ask questions of a biologist via Twitter using the hash tag #HeronTalk .

What the heron cam supports

The heron cam supports the:

  • Park Board’s Biodiversity Strategy , a guide 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.
  • Vancouver Bird Strategy, providing education and celebrating the city’s birds.

Heron Cam is a collaborative effort between the Park Board and Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES). Join our partners the Stanley Park Ecology Society  for interpretive heron walks during the nesting season. 

Seeing the nests in person

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.

Dog owners are reminded to keep pets leashed around the colony.

Adopt a nest

SPES has an Adopt a Heron Nest program which supports efforts to educate, monitor and maintain the great blue herons and protect their home in Stanley Park.
 

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