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The Great Blue Heron

Through our award-winning Unique Areas program, J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI) continues to encompass biodiversity and habitat conservation within the forests we own and manage. We are currently conserving over 1150 sites for birds, mammals, fish, lakes, wetlands, plants, reptiles, and invertebrates. 

Through research partnerships and training, JDI works to develop the best practices for habitat conservation for the diverse species that live within the forest. The Great Blue Heron is one of the many bird species included in our Unique Areas conservation program. (Image below)

Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron tends to enjoy wetland areas and can often be seen near slow-moving streams as they hunt for meals such as fish, frogs, and even small snakes and rodents. Large in stature, Great Blue Herons are known to be one of the more awkward flyers. For this reason, these birds tend to nest within the upper canopy of tall trees to allow for easy access with little, fine maneuvering. The Great Blue Heron will return to its nest each year, adding more layers each visit. Some such nests have reached a depth of up to half a meter. 

In order to ensure the Blue Herons do not abandon their young, JDI sets a No Harvest Buffer around the nesting area of these birds. These buffers are based on buffer widths approved by the Department of Natural Resources.  

JDI places a 100 meter No Harvest Zone around Blue Heron nests. During nesting season, this increases to 250 meters to ensure that these animals do not flee their nests. 

A new area of heron habitat was recently added to the program when a contractor came across over 30 nests located at the tops of white birch, red maple, and trembling aspen trees. He reported the siting to our company naturalist, Kelly Honeyman.

“The maintenance of Great Blue Heron and other bird species on the landscape is top-of-mind for our Woodlands staff.” says Kelly Honeyman, JDI Chief Naturalist.  “Our stick nest program and associated training reflects that commitment.“

JDI’s biodiversity strategy includes training, scientific research and the application of the latest technology to ensure that our forestry operations meet our biodiversity objectives, and always provides a safe home for wildlife.