heron colony nests

here at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve is active from early March to late July


Herons return to nest on site at the end of February/early March.
The best place to view the colony is west along the North Dyke Trail, about a 10 minutes walk from the Rotary Interpretive Centre.
There are currently 95 active nests in the colony.

  • the colony is situated in a grove of mature cottonwood trees
  • herons choose a new mate each year
  • nest selection and courting starts in early March
  • 3 -5 eggs are laid in late March and hatch about a month later
  • incubation is 28 days
  • chicks take 10 weeks to go from a newly hatched chick to a fully fledged juvenile
  • on average 1 chick per nest survives
  • eagles are a major predator, eating the eggs and chicks –
    HOWEVER, having one territorial eagle in their midst actually protects the herons from further predation from outside raptors
  • a large eagle nest is located right beside the colony
  • raccoons can climb the trees to get eggs or chicks
  • all of the trees are protected by fencing to keep the beavers from bringing them down
  • watch for otters playing in the water in front of the nesting site
  • also watch for woodpeckers, swallows, mergansers and wood ducks