The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW) has partnered with the Penobscot Valley Chapter of Maine Audubon to help identify Bangor-area foraging areas for great blue herons. We will try to find heron foraging sites over the summer of 2015. Then in 2016, in partnership with Dr. John Brzorad of Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina and the non-profit organization 1000 Herons, IFW will attach satellite tracking sensors to captured birds to learn more about the birds’ daily movements, energy budgets, colony fidelity, migration routes, and wintering locations.
Dr. Brzorad has captured great egrets and great blue herons by setting out a bin stocked with live fish in the bird’s usual foraging area, along with modified foot hold traps set in an array near the bin. When traps are set, they are never left unattended; once a bird steps in a trap, researchers get to it within a few minutes, so as not to stress the bird. Therefore, an ideal location would be one that is: regularly used by foraging herons, easily accessed on foot, easily visible from a nearby location, and within a few miles of a bait shop. That’s why the research team needs YOUR local knowledge and observations!
The transmitters are expected to last the life of the tagged birds, which is believed to average 15 years. Additional citizen science opportunities will be available for tracking the birds’ activities over time.
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact IFW wildlife biologist Danielle D’Auria for more information and detailed instructions. Danielle D’Auria may be reached by phone: (207) 941-4478, or email: email@example.com.