The edges of Stanley Park have been home to a colony of blue herons for the last 11 years. Perched above the Park Board’s Administrative Offices and the tennis courts, these large wading birds (that stand a meter tall) pepper our beach landscapes.
To protect the herons, which are currently “blue listed” as a species at risk in British Columbia, a fence below the colony has been installed in order to minimize disturbance. According to the Vancouver Park Board, in 2010 the herons occupied 124 nests and produced more than 120 fledglings by the end of the season, which is sometimes as late as September, down from the previous year of 145 nests and 175 fledglings.
The birds have been in the park since the 1920s however this particular colony location has been the same for the last decade or so. Recent reports of predatory bald eagles attacking the nests could potentially prompt a change in location in the future.
“Are we good neighbors to these magnificent avians. The Herons have settled in the park in increasing numbers over the past years. Like any new population they have had their challenges: wind storms, an urban environment and raccoon attacks. On this herony tour we will look at the life cycle of the Great Blue Herons and what the Stanley Park Ecology Society and local residents are doing to be welcoming and helpful neighbours to the Herons.”
Those interested in learning more can meet at the Stanley Park Nature House (at Lost Lagoon) although advance reservations through the Stanley Park Ecology Society are encouraged. Admission for the tour is $5 for SPES members, seniors and children, and $10 for non-members. The Stanley Park Nature House is open every weekend and SPES regularly hosts tours, walks, and information sessions.