Busy Days at the Heron Rookery

If only we would all get along as well as the birds I’ve been watching this month at the heron rookery.

In early March the Canada Geese were busy checking out the various nests in the rookery, apparently staking their claims to the choice spots.  It’s hard to imagine how the little goslings manage to survive the leap from these high nests, but apparently some do, since I’ve seen the geese nesting there for many years.


Each year I’ve been sure that there will be fights when the herons return, but if there are, I haven’t seen them.    The geese and the herons just seem to enjoy hanging out together.


Actually, the herons spend more time fussing with each other than they do with the geese. These two were sparring with each other for the better part of an hour, until one finally got tired and left this prime perch to the winner.



But it’s not just geese and herons sharing this real estate.  Remember the Great Horned Owl I’ve been seeing this winter?    She’s decided that the rookery is a dandy place to nest as well!


I’ve been watching her for weeks, always keeping an eye out for her mate.  I’ve been scanning the surrounding trees every time I go to the rookery, but no luck.  Until yesterday.


Finally!  Probably been on that same branch the whole time.



What a place!

About westerner54

Hello. I'm Cindy, and I love to hike, bike and explore the outdoors - particularly the western U.S.
This entry was posted in Birding, Montana, Nature, Wildlife and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Busy Days at the Heron Rookery

  1. lmachayes says:

    Love all of this rookery action. I keep track of a rookery in Maine as part of the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife HERON project. Spotted our first heron of the season on a local river two days ago. Let spring begin 🙂

  2. Sue says:

    Those are some great action photos! Surprising to find geese and herons coexisting so compatibly. And a GHO too!

  3. Lyle Krahn says:

    Looks like a magical place. Great set of photos.

  4. plaidcamper says:

    Great photographs – what an amazing place! Spellbinding.

  5. rosemaryhr says:

    Wonderful photos of an amazing experience. Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Fascinating, I’ve never seen geese nesting high up in a tree. Never too old to learn something new, hehe…. 🙂

  7. Mark Curtis says:

    Thanks for the heron story and photos. I went to the Helena Regulating Reservoir and spotted the rookery, but I couldn’t figure out how to hike to the rookery. Can you assist me with directions…Thanks…Mark

    • westerner54 says:

      Hi Mark! To get to where I took the photos you need to go to the entrance on the east side of the reservoir, then hike along the shore from there. We’ll only be able to get there until they start filling the reservoir, which I guess will be in a couple of weeks. Of course, a boat will work then…

      • Mark Curtis says:

        Thanks…I was on the right path; I thought I was going to be stopped by water, so I just needed to keep going.

  8. Jet Eliot says:

    It is always a pleasure to tag along on your adventures, Cindy. This rookery visit was amazing, with the numerous nesting birds and so much activity. I have never seen so much action out of great blue herons. Fantastic photos.

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