One March 15th of last year, I was able to snap a shot of the very first Great Blue Heron to return to the Devil’s Lake State Park rookery for the season. As you can see from the photo above, they haven’t arrived yet this year. All you’ll find in February are last year’s empty nests swaying in the icy breeze. Even arriving in March, the heron risk getting caught in late season snowstorms. Still, it won’t be long!
Great Blue Heron, which can can stand up to 4 ½ feet tall with a wingspan up to 6 ½ feet, nest each year at Devil’s Lake State Park. Their rookery is located right in the middle of the busy South Shore group camp. While campers roam all around, the heron scream, squawk, squabble and raise their young high in the trees above. The sound is so loud and so unique that visitors often describe the experience as sounding like the trees are filled with pterosaurs! An apt description for sure!
Observing the heron as they raise their chicks through the summer season is quite an experience. We’re lucky at Devil’s Lake that we can get so close to this protected rookery. When the birds do arrive this year, we’ll talk more about how to observe them without putting them at risk. Until then, we’ll keep watching the skies…
When do you think the heron will return to Devil’s Lake State Park this year?