Storm claims herons

Twenty-nine chicks and one adult died at the 24th Street rookery during strong winds Tuesday night

Hope still soars despite a setback at a Vernon heronry.

Twenty-nine chicks and one adult died at the 24th Street rookery during strong winds Tuesday night.

“The wind storms were devastating,” said Pete Wise, a wildlife expert, who was notified of the crisis. “We went in there to try and save them but it wasn’t possible. We checked each and every bird.”

The birds either died from the fall as their nests plummeted to the ground or from hypothermia.

“It’s a tough situation but it’s not the first time I’ve seen this. I’ve been in there before when nests fall,” said Wise.

While so many deaths will impact the heronry, Wise remains upbeat about the species locally.

“There are lots of nests and chicks there. They’re not gone, they’re still there,” he said. “The babies up there will survive and life goes on.”