Friday, October 19, 2007

Great blue heron project for Bay of Fundy

Still on the conservation theme....Volunteers are hoping to beef up the number of great blue herons nesting on Manawagonish Island, in the Bay of Fundy, by building nesting platforms to entice herons to come and lay their eggs.

About a dozen people made the boat trip this past Monday to the island in the Bay of Fundy, about 1.5 kilometres off the coast from Saint John.

Manawagonish Island used to be home to 44 pairs of nesting great blue herons, but their numbers were dramatically reduced after a number of trees died. Volunteers from the New Brunswick Nature Trust made a boat trip to the island earlier this week. The idea is to create some artificial habitat for these birds.

The artificial habitat will consist of five seven-metre high utility poles, each containing four nesting platforms. Helicopters were used Monday afternoon to transport the poles to the island. While this is a unique project for the Bay of Fundy, it has apparently been carried out successfully elsewhere in North America.

There are still a few pairs of great blue herons breeding on the island, Minich said, and the hope is that that their offspring will return to breed and use the nesting platforms. The group is also planting white spruce trees on the island to replace the trees killed by the thousands of birds that have bred there over the years.

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