It’s a rite of spring in the North Okanagan, the returning of the Great Blue herons to the Vernon heronry.
The majestic birds’ return to their 20th Street home draws many visitors to the heronry which is good.
And, also, not so good.
The herons are an at-risk, blue-listed species so the Vernon Heron Protection Society is asking the public to respect the birds and view them from a distance.
“Some herons have just returned to the Vernon heronry property in the hopes of finding a mate, nesting and laying their eggs,” said Jane Weixl with the society. “This is a very critical time for the birds. They work night and day building nests and rely on access to the field for nesting materials and food.”
The society says some people are trespassing on the heronry field and property while taking photos and trying to get a better look at the herons during nesting.
When people are walking in the field, the birds are scared off.
“If it happens enough times they may stop nesting entirely and leave,” said Weixl, reminding people the entire property is well-signed, with ‘no trespassing’ notices.
“Please obey the signs as this species is struggling to survive in B.C. and across Canada due to climate events like last year’s heat dome and the loss of suitable nesting areas due to development,” said Weixl, who still encourages people to view the birds.
The best place to see them is from beside the road on 20th Street or 24th Street, or from the pathway by Roster’s Sports Club.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.