Heron hangouts studied

February 09, 2006, vol. 35, no. 3
By Jennifer Gardy

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On the banks of Chilliwack's Vedder river, the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve provides a sanctuary for the Lower Mainland's heron population.

With the help of two SFU researchers, the reserve's new Heron hotline program promises to shed more light on the feeding behaviour of these magnificent birds.

Rob Butler, adjunct professor in the department of biological sciences, and graduate student Iain Jones are acting as advisors on the project, the goal of which is to collect information on heron sightings from the public.

By amassing information on the herons' favourite hangouts, the researchers are hoping to determine where in the Chilliwack area the birds are feeding.

Butler, author of The Great Blue Heron and an SFU outstanding alumnus, uses a house as an analogy for the reserve. “The Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve protects the heron's bedroom. The location of the kitchen, however, is not known. This study is trying to locate where the herons feed to ensure the safety of the area.”

With the coastal heron population finding it more difficult now to raise young, protecting the habitat of this at-risk species is becoming increasingly important.

If you spot a heron in the Chilliwack area, call the Heron Hotline at 604-823-6603 or email herons@shawbiz.ca Include the number of herons observed, the location of the sighting and your contact information in your message.

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