Hooray For Herons!
People’s Friend Specials|Issue 143

Wendy Turner finds out more about a British success story.

EVERY year, grey herons return to the island on the lake in Verulamium Park, St Albans, to patch up the previous year’s nest and lay their eggs.

For the last three years they have been joined by two pairs of colonising little egrets, which add to the wonderful diversity of wildlife that thrives in this inner city green space.

“It’s quite usual for grey herons and egrets to nest alongside each other,” Barry Trevis, a member of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), explains. “They like hawthorn, weeping willow and silver birch as the branches are more horizontal and better support the nest.”

Males collect sticks and twigs for the nest base which is usually built high in the treetop. Females construct the nest, adding small bits of twig and grasses until it expands to around one metre.

Three to five greenish-blue eggs are laid and incubated by both parents for around twenty-five days. The chicks fledge at seven to eight weeks.

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