The Great Blue Heron Walk of 2019

If you’ve ever witnessed a Great Blue Heron slowly striding in the water or gracefully taking flight, you know that they are a breathtaking sight to behold! On Saturday, April 6th, we organized a large group of bird enthusiasts to gather at the Upper Bucks campus of Bucks County Community College, where nature-lover and birding expert Diane Allison spoke about the life history of these magnificent birds.

In her talk, Diane noted the importance of land preservation for Great Blue Heron populations; since they don’t have any major predators, the only threats they really face are harmful human activities such as wetland destruction and environmental degradation from pollution. The work that land conservation organizations (like Heritage Conservancy) do in communities helps protect valuable heron habitat! These birds create very large nests–they can be up to four feet across and over three feet deep–so the presence of large trees is vital to their life cycle. They also need healthy bodies of water nearby, where they can forage for frogs, fish, and other aquatic food sources.

After Diane’s informative presentation, the group headed over to Yafa Faro’s property in East Rockhill Township to see the beautiful herons in their natural habitat. We counted 18 of the massive birds in shag-bark hickory trees, even spotting some building their very well-camouflaged nests in pine trees. Diane noted that it’s much more common for herons to nest in pines out west; we haven’t observed them doing that here in Bucks County since 2014!

We were happy to have such a large group of eager birdwatchers attend this fun annual event. Seeing the Great Blue Herons thriving in their natural habitat is always a great visual representation of why Heritage Conservancy’s land preservation work is so necessary–and so rewarding for local wildlife and wildlife observers.