History of the Stow Lake Great Blue Heron Colony:

Nancy DeStefanis, Executive Director of San Francisco Nature Education, discovered the first nesting pair in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, in June, 1993. The first nest yielded two heron chicks.

Since then, the great blue herons have nested successfully each year, producing 159 fledglings. In 1995, we had two nests- one nest produced two chicks but at the second nest, the parents took turns incubating eggs for SIX MONTHS! They finally called it a day in September. The late ornithologist Luis Baptista, Chair Ornithology Dept. at the Cal Academy of Sciences, said he thought our nest set the record for unsuccessful incubation!

Most years since 1993, we have had two or more nests. For several years, five and six nests were occupied yielding ten or 12 chicks.

In 2013, we had three active nests, producing two fledglings each.

In 2014, the heron pair in the center nest on Heron Island, nested successfully and produced three chicks in June 2014. The three chicks fledged at the end of August, 2014.

In 2015, a pair of great blue herons again nested in the center Nest. The herons were observed sitting on the nest on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. The male and female take turns sitting on the eggs. It takes approximately thirty days for the eggs to hatch. Since we don't know when the eggs were laid, we may see hatchlings at the end of March.

The Heron Colony chronology and other information is available at www.sfnature.org under programs and media.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Heron Website- go to Cornell Lab Bird Cams and click on Great Blue Herons. Just below the livestream click on Heron Nest FAQs which provides a comprehensive list of questions and answers about the Great Blue Heron. The first 54 questions are specifically about the Great Blue Heron. The remaining questions and answers are specific to their colony site.

If you have any comments or questions about our San Francisco Nature Education Heron Cam, please email us at info@sfnature.org and we will try to answer them-space permitting.

Nancy’s blog will be updated each week with the latest news.

San Francisco Nature Education (SFNE) provides interactive environmental education programs that develop leadership and stewardship in youth and adults. Our school programs, Science and Nature for Underserved Youth focus on providing education enrichment to students from underserved communities. We use local parks as natural classrooms to observe local and migratory birds and to provide inspiring and engaging natural experiences. San Francisco Nature Education is a non profit corporation.