Mariner, the latest great blue heron to be tagged with a GPS transmitter by IFW biologists.

Deer Isle Mariner is Latest GPS-Tagged Great Blue Heron

Meet “Mariner,” the newly GPS-tagged great blue heron from Deer Isle.  On June 3rd, Mariner became the 11th great blue heron in Maine to be added to the Heron Tracking Project that began in 2016.

Great blue heron with a stick during nest building

Ring in the Spring with the Heron Observation Network – 13 Years and Counting

Of the many harbingers of spring, herons returning to their colonies is my favorite! Before we embark on the 14th year of heron colony monitoring, let's first review results from the 2021 volunteer efforts.

Great blue heron with GPS tag on back, standing in marsh.

Spring is Here, but Where are Our Tagged Herons?

Spring is here, and we are patiently waiting for our tagged herons to return from their wintering areas. Here's an update explaining why we haven't seen them yet.

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Beaver Flowage Attracts GPS-Tagged Heron to Nest

Have you heard of Cornelia, an adult female great blue heron tagged with a GPS transmitter, who nests in Maine and migrates to the Bahamas for the winter? She is one of ten other herons who’ve been equipped with GPS transmitters by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) to learn more about heron movements, habits, and habitats in Maine and beyond. The project began with the help of a Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund grant and many partnering schools, and is part of MDIFW’s ongoing efforts to understand the status of great blue herons in the state – especially along the coast where their population has declined by 89% since the 1980s.

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Heron Observation Network Volunteers Didn’t Skip a Beat in 2020

Despite the many challenges that 2020 placed on the world, the Heron Observation Network’s volunteers didn’t skip a beat. Thankfully, outside is the safest place to be during the pandemic, and thus our usual heron colony monitoring efforts carried on in a similar fashion as in past years. For the twelfth year in a row, volunteers trekked to great blue heron colonies in all corners of the state to collect nesting data that is providing a clearer picture of the population’s status. Sixty-eight volunteers and staff monitored 112 great blue heron colonies.

Two herons on nest

A Quick Look Back Before the 2020 Heron Watching Season Begins

How about we forget about what’s going on in the crazy world for just a moment and think about the month of June 2019, which is when Heron Observation Network Volunteers conducted most of their colony visits last year.

Exploring Our School's Very Own Heronry

On October 9th, our Environmental Studies class at Nokomis Regional High was fortunate enough to have wildlife biologist, Danielle D’Auria, come to our class and talk to us about the Great Blue Heron nests that are located on our school grounds. We took a trip to the Heron Rookery right on our school property, where we were able to tag and measure 33 nesting trees and identify 39 heron nests.

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Volunteers Contribute a Decade to Heron Monitoring

In what felt like a blink of an eye, we finished up our tenth year of monitoring great blue heron colonies with the help of Heron Observation Network volunteers. These citizen scientists often braved mosquitoes and black flies and hiked through thick swampy forests to get a good view of great blue heron nests, which were often in snags in the middle of a wetland, sometimes in what felt like the middle of nowhere.

Heron Observation Network's Ninth Year in a Nutshell

Volunteers are Vital From Eagle Lake to Milbridge to Eliot, the Heron Observation Network of Maine completed its ninth year of monitoring great blue heron colonies in an ongoing effort to better understand the status of the population. Great blue herons are widespread throughout Maine; however, a noticeable decline in their coastal nesting population has occurred since the 1980s.

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Meet Our Most Highly Pursued High-Tech Wader: Snark

Have you heard about “Snark,” the first great blue heron in Maine to be outfitted with a GPS transmitter last spring, and the only one to be recaptured a year later? The great blue heron is a Species of Special Concern in Maine due to a decline along the coast.