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.

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First Maine Island-Nesting Heron Tagged with GPS Transmitter

IFW technician Brittany Currier holds tagged great blue heron just before release. To ensure everyone’s safety, IFW biologist Amanda Cross holds onto the bill.

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Tracking Nokomis Connected People to Place, Both Near and Far

As a biologist, I know death is as much a part of the life cycle of all organisms as life itself, but it can still be difficult to contend with especially after you’ve “gotten to know” an individual animal by following its movements for nearly five years. That individual is Nokomis, a great blue heron we tagged with a GPS transmitter in 2016.

Heron flying

Harper Wows Us Again!

Harper, the GPS-tagged Great Blue Heron, has done it again! Last fall she impressed us with her 38-hour nonstop flight over the open ocean. This year, she has gone above and beyond, flying for 68 hours and 2,030 miles nonstop from Quebec to Georgia.

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.

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Harper's Marvelous Migration Sparks More Questions - Here Are Some Answers

For those who may be late to the party, “Harper” is an adult female great blue heron who was captured and tagged with a GPS transmitter in Harpswell, Maine, by IFW biologists with the help of students from Harpswell Coastal Academy and volunteers with Harpswell Heritage Land Trust.

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Heron Tagged in Harpswell Surprises Biologists

For nine students at Harpswell Coastal Academy, Wednesdays in May meant donning knee-high boots, venturing to a nearby wetland, and hoping for signs a hungry great blue heron had been there. As part of a spring class elective, these students were dedicated to helping MDIFW ultimately tag a great blue heron with a GPS transmitter as part of an ongoing project to better understand heron habits in Maine.

Great Blue Heron is Newest Teacher at Easton Schools

On an otherwise quiet Sunday morning before dawn, our headlamps lit the way through cattails and boot-sucking mud as we carried a bucket of baitfish and tubs of traps to a bin set in the shallows of Christina Reservoir in Aroostook County.

Two Years Later, Two More Herons Tagged for Tracking

Two years after five of Maine’s great blue herons were outfitted with high-tech GPS transmitters, IFW once again worked closely with teachers and students from Nokomis Regional High School in Newport, Center Drive School in Orrington, and Haworth Academic Center in Bangor to re-deploy two of the tags on new herons.

Floridians Fetch Feathered Friend, "Snark"

Not all great blue herons migrate, but most of Maine’s breeders choose to spend the winter months in warmer climes at the southern end of the U.S. (Florida) or in another country altogether (Cuba, Bahamas, Haiti). In 2016, we fitted solar-powered GPS transmitters to 5 great blue herons that automatically record GPS locations and transmit data to a website making it extremely convenient for biologists to track the movements of such individuals.