Thirty herons killed at nesting site in Vernon after powerful windstorm

FILE PHOTO - Great Blue Heron nests at the rookery in Vernon are pictured in this file photo. The rookery was destroyed by the wind storm earlier this week.

VERNON - More than two dozen great blue heron chicks and one adult bird are dead after their nesting site in Vernon was heavily damaged in a windstorm.

Vernon-based wildlife expert Pete Wise says he walked through the heron nesting colony in a protected grove of cottonwood trees on Thursday, May 25, and discovered several trees had been toppled by the storm earlier in the week.

He says some nests were in the fallen trees, while others had been knocked loose or the chicks had been blown out.

Wise says the birds, which included 29 babies, were either killed in the fall or died from hypothermia in the hours afterward.

He estimates about one third of the colony was lost.

There are between 5,000 and 6,000 great blue herons in B.C. and the province has placed the bird on a vulnerable species list due to its declining population.

One reason for the listing is the fact the birds can't find large, isolated groves of trees suitable for nesting colonies.

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