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Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Black-Crowned Night Herons Are Back
These four black-crowned night herons represent our first sighting of the species this season at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Pictured in trees on the island on March 30, they’re most likely the birds that completed their migration fastest, the trailblazers.
Last year, Nature Boardwalk’s black-crowned night heron breeding colony contained more than 200 adults at the peak of breeding season. The species is endangered in Illinois, making them particularly important for Lincoln Park Zoo biologists to track.
The herons have a long history at the pond. Black-crowned night herons typically return to the same breeding sites year after year, often even renovating and reusing the same nests. We should soon see herons gathering up twigs and sprucing up nests for the breeding season ahead—their version of spring cleaning.
As of today, 21 black-crowned night herons have made their way to the island. I will continue to watch for more newcomers in days to come.
Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo
By transforming the South Pond into Nature Boardwalk, Lincoln Park Zoo has created an urban ecosystem in the heart of the city. Enjoy a virtual view as native plants and animals establish themselves in this rare refuge.
As Lincoln Park Zoo’s director of horticulture, Brian oversees the zoo’s gardens, from bud to bloom.
As coordinator of wildlife management, Mason chronicles the bugs, birds, fish, insects, mammals and more that make their homes at Nature Boardwalk.
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