Ballard Locks great blue heron colony has most successful nesting season in almost a decade

The heron habitat at Commodore Park near the Ballard Locks had the most successful nesting season in 2022 since volunteers began monitoring the area almost a decade ago.

The Heron Habitat Helpers (HHH) report that 126 chicks were successfully fledged last year, which is the most since they started watching the colony in 2014.

Volunteers with HHH recorded a total of 78 nests from 156 adults during the last nesting season from March until August. Of the 126 chicks fledged, five fell from their nests and were rescued and brought to PAWS for rehabilitation. Two of those chicks survived and were released back into the wild.

The organization is looking for another round of volunteers to help monitor the colony in 2023, so they’re hosting a volunteer open house on Sunday, Feb. 26 from 11 am to 12:30 p.m. at Commodore Park
(3330 W Commodore Way).

More info, from HHH:

Each season, our monitoring team observes the colony and notes what the herons are doing in each nest. Are they courting? Incubating eggs? Feeding chicks? By noting the date of these events we can learn how long it takes for an egg to hatch, the duration of nesting season, how many chicks hatch, how many fledged, and yes, how many may have been taken by predators. The more we understand, the more we can help protect the colony. This volunteer opportunity runs March until August, and takes 2-3 hours, once per week. We will train and work with you as needed. No experience necessary. 

Photo: HHH