The great blue herons have returned to Vernon—but those wanting to see the big birds are being asked to so from a distance.
The heronry in Vernon’s north end, near Walmart, is coming back to life with the birds seeking mates and settling down in nests atop large cottonwood trees where they will lay their eggs and raise their young.
“This is a very critical time for the birds. They work night and day building nests and rely on access to the field for nesting materials and food,” says Jane Weixl of the Vernon Heronry Protection Society.
“Unfortunately, some people are trespassing on the heronry field and property while taking photos and trying to get a better look at the birds during nesting. When people are walking in the field the birds are scared off,” said Weixl in a post that was shared on the Vernon and Area Community Forum.
If the big birds are frightened too many times, they could abandon their nest entirely, Weixl adds.
There are numerous ‘No Trespassing’ signs around the heronry, and Weixl implores people to “obey the signs as this species is struggling to survive in BC and across Canada due to climate events like last year’s heat dome and the loss of suitable nesting areas due to develop.”
Last summer’s record temperatures resulted in the death and displacement of numerous herons as they were seen falling from nests and expiring from heat exhaustion.
“Please view the birds from beside the road on 20th Street or 24th Street or from the pathway by Roster’s Sports Club,” Weixl asks.