Great Blue Heron Mystery Of The Missing Inhabitants In The Rookery

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Great Blue Heron Mystery
Of The Rookery


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In 2010 we discovered a Great Blue Heron rookery not too far from our home where we were living at the time.

great-blue-heron-mysteryGreat Blue Heron Mystery:
The Missing Birds At The Rookery

We made it our goal to take pictures of the various stages of life in the rookery.

Therefore, with the early arrival of warm weather that year we made several trips to the rookery to see if we could catch a glimpse of these fantastic birds as they repaired their nests and got ready for the arrival of that year’s batch of babies.

As this rookery has at least four nests we were excited about the possibilities of photographing the development of many young birds.

Every few days we eagerly traveled to the site of the rookery.

But each time we were disappointed to find it vacant.

As days became weeks without the arrival of these magnificent birds we began to worry as to why they had not arrived.

Were they victims of the Gulf oil disaster?

Did they get lost?

(The pictures on this page are of other nest sites.)

great-blue-heron-mysteryGreat Blue Heron Gathering Nest Material

Did The Great Blue Heron Mystery Get Resolved?

Needless to say, we were not only disappointed, but also worried as to why the Blue Herons had not shown up at “their” rookery.

Ironically, at the end of that summer I transferred to another location for the company that I worked for.

The next spring when we went back to our old “home town” we happened to pass by the rookery.

And, much to our surprise all four nests were “busy” with new Blue Heron families!

We were delighted to witness their return.

But as happy as we were, we were equally dismayed that for some foolish reason I had left my camera at home.

That is why I have no pictures to share of the chicks sitting up in their nests waiting the return of their parents with lunch.

I cannot tell you how disappointed I was.

great-blue-heron-pair-in-nestBoth Parents Take Part In Rearing Their Young

Why Had The Great Blues Abandoned Their Rookery?

Why did the Blue Herons return?

We discovered that for no known reason, Blue Herons will vacate a rookery and use, or create another rookery elsewhere.

Another birder gave us information that verified what we had experienced about the transience of the Blue Herons in terms of their choice of rookery location.

She told us that in her area Blue Herons were using a rookery this year that had been vacant for more than a decade.

We were astounded and comforted to discover this piece of information.

We know that in any given year they may or may not be there, but that likely they are somewhere in a suitable location of their choice.


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