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How You Can Help
Send tax-deductible
donations to:

c/o WDFW
600 N Capitol Way
Olympia, WA 98501-1091

Heron Habitat Helpers

King County Metropolitan Transit
King County Metropolitan Transit

City of Kenmore
Kenmore Police Dept.
King County Sheriff's Office

King County Library
Kenmore Library

Seattle Audubon Society  

Olympia Systems Inc.

One Net Place, Inc.

Heroncam pre-recorded videos
Want to Learn More?
About the Great Blue Heron
Facts About Great Blue Herons
Management Recommendations for Washington's Priority Species, Volume IV: Birds

HERONS (Ardea herodias)

This camera is experiencing temporary technical difficulties. We hope to have the system repaired for the 2014 WildWatchcam viewing season.

Herons in nestIntroducing 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.

A 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.

Update Mid-July 23 2013
The Kiwanis great blue herons have NOT re-nested this year in this particular site.  The big question that no one is able to answer is whether the herons will return next spring and attempt to nest in this historical colony site.  It is our intention to leave the cameras in place to see what occurs in the spring of 2014.  Public and partnership contributions help support the WildWatchcams for public wildlife viewing and scientific observations

Update May 3, 2013
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.

To 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:

Kiwanis Heroncam nest viewWDFW would like to thank all of the partners who have made this project possible.

  • King 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.
  • The 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 reception area.
  • The Kenmore Police cars sport the Kenmore City logo that contains great blue herons in flight.
  • The 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.

WDFW would also like to thank all of the many individuals who have contributed to this project and to the early HeronCam and website.

“If 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 Bulter, 1997)

Appreciation 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 Police.

The 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.

We 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.

Attention 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 Inventory.pdf

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:

c/o WDFW
600 N. Capitol Way
Olympia WA 98501-1091

Heron Conservation and Stewardship Groups
Seattle Audubon Society - GBH Research
Herons Forever
The Heron Working Group
Heron Habitat Helpers
To explore places to find birds in Washington - Great Washington Birding Trail
Related Links
Bibliography & Links
Canadian Wildlife Service - Great Blue Herons
Hinterland Who's Who - GBH Fact Sheet
California Academy of Sciences Library - GHB Bibliography
USFWS - Great Blue Herons, a Monitoring Species?
Environment Canada