Great Blue Heron Survivors Released to Rookery

Majestic and serene, Great Blue Herons are an important part of British Columbia’s ecosystem. The beautiful grey-blue colour of their wings can be spotted in both freshwater and saltwater wetlands as well as lakes, which they rely on as their food source since their diet revolves around fish.

Last month, three surviving Great Blue Heron fledglings were brought to Wildlife Rescue after a deadly tree fall knocked over nearby trees at a Heron Rookery in Tsawwassen First Nations land injuring and killing over a dozen of herons in their nests.

Thanks to the efforts of Wildlife Rescue staff and support from all of you the young herons were raised under supportive care at Wildlife Rescue hospital. One heron was much older than the other and developed his skills quickly and therefore was released a few weeks earlier, the second heron joined him a few weeks later. Check out the full story here

The herons were handfed, and tube-fed until they were old enough to self feed and demonstrate strong flight and hunting skills. They were given a simulated nest that helped mimic their rookery environment. With progressive development, the herons were both moved to a larger enclosure where they moved from perching on the lowest to the highest level. The enclosures allow for natural flight development and prepare the herons to return home with the skills they need to survive.

 

Challenges

While the Great Blue Herons released by Wildlife Rescue are prepared for success in the wild, they may still face other threats.

  • Habitat loss – Threats to their habitats such as logging and human disruption (ex. motorboats, traffic) can lead to Great Blue Herons losing their habits.
  • Water pollution – Since Great Blue Herons rely on open water as their food source, chemicals and other pollutants in the water can cause many problems.
  • Wildfires – When wildfires burn down forests, they often eliminate habitats and pollute streams.

 Want to Help?

Thankfully, there are still plenty of ways to make sure Great Blue Herons flourish in the wild.

  • Know before you go – While taking trips to parks and other areas with thriving wildlife, make sure not to disrupt these special species!
  • Go natural – Using natural pesticides for our lawns and backyards rather than chemicals will help Great Blue Herons, since the chemicals we use often end up in streams and rivers.
  • Prevent a wildfire – Want to help prevent a wildfire? If you see a wildfire or irresponsible behaviour that could lead to a wildfire in British Columbia, call 1 800 663-5555 or *5555 from a cell phone.

Of course, helping injured birds is another great way to help. If you see a bird that has exposed bone or blood, bugs or insects covering it, no feathers, or a bird that is sleeping, human intervention is required. Call Wildlife Rescue’s Support Centre at 604-526-7275. To help us return your call quickly, please leave your contact information and observation. We will make sure the bird is treated with kindness and compassion.

If you would like to help with the many efforts of the Wildlife Rescue Association, please click here to learn more.


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