the “big cranky”. Other common names used for the great blue heron
include: grandfather, blue crane, gray crane, long
john, poor joe, and big cranky.
hunched long-legged silhouette stands motionless and
silent along a stream or shoreline. Easily identified
by its large body, characteristic profile on the ground
or in the air the great blue heron is a common sight
near many wetlands, forests and estuaries in Washington.
In flight the great blue heron slowly beats its 7-foot
wingspan, head folded back on shoulders, long legs
trailing in the behind. If startled it will emit a
low-pitched squawk (heron squawk). Feeding by day
or night but most active before dawn and dusk, sometimes
still hunting and waiting for prey to come within
striking distance of its long flexible neck and saber-like
bill, or stalking prey in water or a field. The great
blue heron is an opportunistic predator eating small
fish, shellfish, insects, reptiles and amphibians
and even mall mammals and birds.
As you may have noticed, the great blue heron nests shown by our agency cameras have been abandoned.
We learned only recently of the extent and consequences of repeated attacks by bald eagles on the nesting herons. The Kiwanis heron colony or heronry has abandoned the nests, eggs and young, and eagles and crows have consumed all of the remains.
The herons may or may not re-nest this year, and we will post future developments regarding the Kiwanis herons on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
Biologists note that herons react in a variety of ways to disturbances of their colonies, and repeated disturbances can cause them to abandon their nests. Their actions depend on such factors as the stage of the nesting cycle, the severity or frequency of the disturbance, colony size, surrounding habitat, and nearby land uses. Human disturbances are a relatively common cause of colony abandonment, and adult nesting herons do not develop a strong attachment to the nest until young are present.
For more information on these events, as recorded by the volunteers from the Heron Habitat Helpers, follow this link: http://www.kplu.org/post/eagles-return-drive-entire-colony-herons-out-kiwanis-ravine
Appreciation is extended to the Heron Habitat Helpers and Crest Learning Center for providing much of the required funds and equipment. Also thank you to Canopy Conservation, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Olympia Systems and OneNetPlace, Inc for the installation and streaming video on the new heroncam systems.
learn more about heron nesting ecology, as well as the
natural phenomenon of siblicide in the bird and animal
world check out the following sites:
would like to thank all of the partners who have made
this project possible.
County Metropolitan Transit has provided the funds to
install and operate new Heroncams and has designed and
installed interpretive signs at the Kenmore Park N’
Ride that depict some of the ecology of great blue herons
and the other values of wetlands.
King County Sheriff’s Office has provided electricity
to power the cameras and will have a flat screen monitor
relaying images of the nesting herons in their public
Kenmore Police cars sport the Kenmore City logo that
contains great blue herons in flight.
King County Kenmore Library is providing bandwidth for
one or more of the HeronCams. The Library will also
install a flat screen monitor to share heron images
with the public and is working with WDFW, local citizens
and the Seattle Audubon Society to develop a Great Blue
Heron Resource Center. This will serve as a depository
for books, scientific publications, videos and other
public education and outreach items that focus on the
value of great blue herons and their associated wetlands.
would also like to thank all of the many individuals
who have contributed to this project and to the early
HeronCam and website.
we are to preserve and protect biodiversity, we must
know the names of all our neighbors of other species,
and we must learn about their habits, needs, and idiosyncrasies.….
In economic realities…., we can no longer expect
large government budgets to bail us out of our ecological
messes. That is where stewardship comes in. Individuals
as well as businesses and volunteer groups can do
an enormous amount with very little money. But hearts
must be in the right place". Robert Bateman (in
is extended to Pam Cahn for her dedicated recordings of
the heron's activities, and to Don Norman, a consultant
and biologist and also officials from King County, Seattle
Parks and Recreation, the City of Kenmore and the Kenmore
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife would like
to extend a special note of appreciation to Bill Hubbard,
Manager of ThermoSight .com (http://www.thermosight.com/)
a web-camera and night vision contractor and Corny Canfield
and C.Canfield Associates, ( 360 402-3933) a designer
and installer of video systems.
invite you to stay tuned and return frequently to
peek into the “life in the treetops” and
get familiar with one of your feathered neighbors,
get your heart in the right place. Please recommend this site to friends and relatives.
Residents of Clallam, Jefferson, Mason, Grays Harbor
and Pacific counties. WDFW is conducting an inventory
of Great Blue Herons in these counties. If you live
in this counties and want to participate, please download
this PDF for more information. Heron
Please send out the WildWatchCam link to all of your friends and relatives - http://wdfw.wa.gov/wildwatch/
We appreciate your support expressed by your frequent cam viewing. You may also help by sending a tax-deductible donation to:
600 N. Capitol Way
Olympia WA 98501-1091