Random bird post: Great Blue Heron

To continue on my “Random Bird Post” feature, I would now like to share a few thought about a magestic (especially in flight) wading bird, the Great Blue Heron (Latin: Ardea herodias; en français: grand héron).

Great Blue Heron in flight, taken in August 2010 at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, MA (USA)

One of the interesting things about these birds is that they attract a lot of attention, especially their nests and nesting habits, in part because they’re so damned interesting, but also because the rely on wetlands to propagate. This makes them a good indicator of the relative health of these important, but highly sensitive natural areas.

The Cornell Lab in Ithica, NY, for instance, has two live webcames trained on a GBH nest (but you may want to look at it really soon because the young might start leaving the next any day now: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/page.aspx?pid=2433

Image

Great Blue Heron, taken during the monthly bird count in December 2011 at Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC (Canada)

I should also point out that our very own Stanley Park, right next door to downtown Vancouver, has one of North America’s largest urban Great Blue Heron colonies. The pictures immediately above and below were taken there, BTW. This colony is closely watched by the fantastic staff and volunteers of the Stanley Park Ecology Society. In spite of intense egg-poaching by another magestic species (Bald Eagles), the herons seem to carry on as best as they can. To find out more about these herons, please visit SPES’s website: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/conservation/urban-wildlife/herons/

Image

Great Blue Heron, taken during the December 2011 bird count at Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC (Canada)

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