Largest Great Blue Heron Rookery in S.E.MI.October 27, 2012
So how did the Great Blue Herons do this year, 2012, at the Heronry, located at HOLLAND PONDS Park, in Macomb county, Shelby Twp.? This was their best EVER, to date! A total of 44 occupied nests where recorded in both the front and rear heronries. That surpasses 2011’s total of 39 nests, by 5.
Each nesting pair of Great Blue Herons where successful at hatching 2-4 chicks per nest. That unfortunately was not the number of Heron chicks to be fledged from each nest. As with any nesting season for the Herons, there would be the natural order of things ruling the outcome of the Heronry. Each nest does not fledge all hatched chicks. In many cases at least one chick per nest is lost as the weakest or sickly of the hatch. This chick will either not receive enough food, due to the competition amongst it’s siblings, or a chick will succumb to illness. This is the way for the strongest of hatchlings to fledge to adulthood.
Another loss to the Heronry was weather. This year in both the front and the rear heronries, a major branch on a nesting tree, and an entire nesting tree, fell to the ground, due to the high winds that move through the lowlands where the heronries are located. These two loses took 3 nests in the front heronry and another 3 nests in the rear heronry. That would have been 50 nests this year. It shows how delicate these Heron nesting sites can be. If not for the huge success rate, at new nest building there, these 6 lost nests would have been extremely critical to the Colonies growth. But due to the successful expansion of both heronries, even the loss of 6 nests resulted in a total net growth of the heronries as a whole, from 39 nests in 2011, to 44 active nests in 2012. Still a very successful season, and still the largest Great Blue Heron rookery in Southeastern Michigan.
We hope that Shelby Twp. will continue to cherish the fact that more Herons reproduce there at Holland Ponds, in Shelby Twp. then any other place in this corner of the state. We hope they continue take care of this rare place for future generations to learn and marvel at this unique setting, and that the majestic Great Blue Heron will continue to thrive in a Colony that has consistently grown in size for over 8 years now.