Herons are colonial nesting birds, preferring to nest in high trees 20 to 50 metres above the ground, where they are safe from most predators. Beacon Hill Park was home to a colony of Great Blue Herons for many years, with nearly 300 of the large birds gathering at one time in a few trees near Goodacre Lake. In 2006, due to predation by Bald Eagles, the herons left and the heronry fell silent. Now they have returned and are once again crafting their large nests in the Sequoias and Pines that border the lake. In 2012, fifty-four heron nests were built in the park, compared to just 15 the year before. From what I have seen so far in 2013, the number of herons will surpass 2012.
Because of the Great Blue Heron’s sensitivity to human activity and its declining population, it has been placed on the Blue List of vulnerable species compiled by the British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Beacon Hill Park serves as a refuge for the herons and as a place where we can appreciate their grace, patience and quickness.
In a concerted effort to support herons nesting in the park, City Parks staff and community members planted 180 fast-growing trees such as Red Alder, Big-leaf Maple and Cottonwood; as well as slower-growing Douglas Fir, Grand Fir and Garry Oak.
Click on the “Start Slideshow” icon below to see more images of Great Blue Herons in Beacon Hill Park.