Learn About the Herons of Stanley Park

Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

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.

Blue Heron
Photo credit: Clayton Perry Photoworks on Flickr

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.

Nesting Herons
Photo credit: TylerIngram on Flickr

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.

Heron Take Off
Photo credit: TylerIngram on Flickr

The Stanley Park Ecology Society is hosting a tour about “The Great Blue Herons of Stanley Park” on Sunday, May 22, 2011 from 1:30pm until 3:30pm.

“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.

Photo credit: TylerIngram on Flickr

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.

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3 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Chris (@lyteforce)Thursday, May 12th, 2011 — 10:45am PDT

    Living in Steveston affords me easy access to watch Herons on a regular basis and I have to say, watching them go fishing for chow is something I could do for hours. If only I could have the patience they possess…

  2. TylerThursday, May 12th, 2011 — 10:47am PDT

    There are also a couple of herons who sit atop the buildings in the WestEnd day after day, year after year. I keep seeing in the same places anyway

    I suggest heading over to the tennis courts in Stanley Park (near the Parks Board building) and seeing the dozens and dozens of nesting herons up in the surrounding trees.

  3. Shawn ChongWednesday, May 25th, 2011 — 1:11am PDT

    The Herons are really cool… living right by English Bay Beach, my wife and I can see the Herons on our walks around the beach, and can see the trees where they nest from our apartment balcony. Truly a wonderful and free sight!

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