Several pairs of great blue herons have set up housekeeping in Commodore Park, on the south side of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Seattle. This is the second year for herons to nest in the park. Last year they settled here after eagles chased them from their longtime nesting area in the nearby Kiwanis Park.
In the new site, the herons are so close that they can easily be observed even without binoculars. Right now, courtship rituals are over and the herons are guarding their giant nests. It won't be long before they'll be winging back and forth across the water to feed their voracious chicks. Then the area will fill with squawks and that almost prehistoric guttural chatter so incongruous with the beauty of these birds. If you're lucky, you'll see a chick reach up and pull down a parental beak to snare a meal.
In order not to disturb the herons, the city is postponing any park landscaping maintenance until after the chicks have fledged. Local birder groups are compiling data on the site, including Heron Habitat Helpers. To find out more about the group and to volunteer, visit http://www.heronhelpers.org/
You can watch a video of activity at the heron rookery at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ShdLuv9xos
For information on the Locks and directions, http://www.nws.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/LocksandDams/Chittende...