|Heronry in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
I am not surprised to find that their is a national park established between Cleveland and Akron, as
I lived in Cleveland suburb in the 1970s and know there were many enthusiastic environmentalists
and naturalist. What was surprising is to find a heronry right by the Bath road, the southern
boundary of the Nat. Park. Nearly a hundred heron nests are build within 100 yards of the road.
Herons have built them on four trees, three of them being Sycamore trees. Perhaps the open
branching and hard wood provide strong support of theie nests.
There are parking area right under the nests. Guard rail stumps are perfect support for observing
and photographing the herons.
I made two visits to this siteon March 2 and 7, 2011 and don't
remember seeing eggs or chicks in the nests at this time.
However there were a few herons sitting in nests and a few
displayed regurgitaion (lower left picture) by lowing their heads
and necks and then raising them with the beaks upward. This was
done repeatedly, although nothing came out of their mouths. See
the nest invader movie below.
It takes a pair to build a nest. One repeatedly
fetches sticks, on this web page, it is
presumed to be the male. The other,
presumably the female, arranges the sticks.
These heronry were build over marsh area,
where fallen branches could be picked up on
the marsh and brought back to the trees.
One just landed.
This one is sitting in the nest.
Usually the male flies
away and comes back
in a few minutes with a
stick in his mouth.
However, this one flew
away and landed on an
unattended nest and
stoled a stick!
He looks a bit dishonest.
When one flies in, the home
heron greets him with a
greeting ritual of rubbing
the beak on his neck and
vice versa. Please see a
video I took of this behavior:
The noise in the video is the
traffic on Bath St. However,
the heron did not seem to
be bothered by it.
The nests are build with good and solid construction and they seem to last more than one year.As the river
in the area has been thawing for about a week, and there has been no recent snow fall, the snow in the
nest above could have been accumulated during the winter. Therefore, this nest was undoubtedly built
before last winter.
Please click on the following youtube link to see a heron that has landed on a strangers' nest. A neighbor
warned him after which he stretched out his neck and looked around, but in a manner not at all like other
"home-coming" behaviors. Sure enough the owner came back soon and chased him away. The owner then
checked the sturdiness of the nest and have many regurgitations: