Determine the distance a heron flies from its nesting colony to places it feeds. Using Google Earth, determine the GPS coordinates (in UTMs) of each place it visits, including its nesting colony. Using the distance formula, calculate straight line distances between the locations. If the bird did not fly in a straight line, use the Ruler tool in Google Earth to measure the length of the path. How far does the bird travel before it returns to the colony? How far does it travel in one day? Does it travel in a straight line or does it meander or zigzag before stopping?
Using a wetland map layer (see resources below), identify the different types of wetland habitats the tagged herons use. Learn how the types differ in water depth, plant composition and structure, aquatic fauna, and other variables. Hypothesize what they use each wetland type for. Determine the relative importance of each type to a heron over the course of a year and during the following periods: nesting, spring and fall migration, and wintering.
Locate a foraging heron. Where would you expect a heron to feed within a 5-mile radius of your school or home? Consider the habitat types and the land uses within and surrounding those habitats. When do you think a heron would be foraging? Visit a few potential foraging locations at different times of the day to see if you find a heron foraging there. Once you find a foraging heron, observe it for at least a half hour. Practice your field observation skills. Remain quiet and well-hidden so that you do not influence its behavior. Record everything the heron does.
Identify patterns in daily or yearly movements of tagged individuals. Using Google Earth, determine where (location, habitat type, distance from colony or roost) they go and when (time of day, time before/after sunrise/sunset, tide height, time of year)? How are the bird's movement patterns similar? If they are different, what may be the reasons for the differences? Suggested resources: