Marked Increase in Heron Nests at Beacon Hill Park
July 5, 2012
Fifty-four heron nests have been counted in Beacon Hill Park, compared to just 15 nests last year. Many of the nests have chicks and young fledglings. The herons have built their nests in the pine trees located at the north and south ends of Goodacre Lake, and at a new location --- in the Sequoia trees behind the Cameron Bandshell.
In a concerted effort to entice herons to nest in the park, at Tree Appreciation Day five years ago, City Parks staff and community members planted 180 trees. Fast-growing trees such as Red alder, Big-leaf maple and Cottonwood were planted to provide increased shelter within the next 10 years. Long-living trees such as Douglas fir, Grand fir, and Garry oak were also planted but will take a few decades before they make good habitat. A floating log was also anchored in Goodacre Lake to serve as a platform for the birds and another half-submerged log is planned.
Each spring, City Parks staff set out leaf and branch piles under trees for the birds to build their nests.
To protect the heronry, dogs are prohibited from this area of the park and signs are posted. When dogs are present, herons are less likely to feed in the lake and collect material to build their nests.
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