Spring is just around the corner and just like this time every year our beloved Great Blue Herons have returned home to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Watching and photographing the Herons is a popular attraction in this area and there is a Great Heron viewing spot located on Bath Road between Akron Peninsula Road and Riverview Road. This herony has seen up to 176 nests in a single season.
Each year the Herons return to this spot and a few others nearby. In February, the males come and claim their nest. In the next couple of weeks the females will arrive, find their partner, court and mate. Baby Herons will hatch sometime in late April or early May.
Their nesting colonies need to be near wetlands or along the river so they can be close to their food source of fish and amphibians. They like to build their nests between 30 and 70 feet high.
The Great Blue Heron is the largest Heron found in North America standing 4 feet tall, weighing about 4 lbs. and having a wingspan of nearly 7 feet!
The best time to check out Great Blue Heron activity is from early March through early April while they are building their nests. The male gathers sticks and gives them to the female who weaves them into the nest. From May to June you can see the adults bringing food back to the nest for their baby herons and in July the young herons will fledge or leave the nest.
If you want to share in the wonder of the Great Blue Heron you can attend the annual Blue Heron Day-Pancakes in the Park on Saturday March 5th from 8:30 am until noon at the Old Trail School in Bath, Ohio.
Tony Morganti, CRS, ABR