Where Have All the Heron Gone?

Some of the people with whom I have recently talked while at Eastwood Lake remember seeing Great Blue Heron on the eagle-cam last year and have wondered where they have gone. The simple answer is that they have relocated their homes after some strong suggestions by Jim and Cindy.

The nest that the eagles have returned to again this year was a heron nest in 2010 and the remnants of that old nest can still be seen crushed beneath the weight of the Bald Eagles’ massive aerie. In fact, there were about 16 nests in that tree that year. A number of heron often build nests close together in a single tree that will serve as a nursery or rookery, sometimes refered to as a heronry, while they raise their young. It can be a very noisy place during brooding season.  Jim and Cindy claimed an unused nest in the top of just such a heronry in the winter of 2010. Last year the eagles tolerated the presence of the Great Blues in the adjacent tree where they had built a new community after their forced eviction. Once in a while a heron would even land in one of the old nests and therefore be clearly visible on the eagle-cam.

This year Jim and Cindy have widened their “no trespassing zone” to include two or three additional trees and I have seen them chase the encroaching Great Blues out of their domain. The heron have established a new heronry in several other trees west of Jim and Cindy’s sycamore. They have built somewhere around 28 shabby little nests in these large trees. Heron are not nearly as good as eagles when it comes to construction work. You can literally look right through the bottom of their nests and see the birds standing inside them. It is kind of comical to see the tall, lanky heron standing in its awkwardly small nest. It looks like they are wearing fuzzy slippers. By the time you get two adults and three nestlings in a nest, it is very crowded indeed. Maybe the cramped living conditions are why heronries are so noisy.

Published in: on May 7, 2012 at 1:53 am  Leave a Comment  

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