UPDATE: Up close with the heron family

Still from the live heron cam

UPDATE:  another egg (that makes two!) this morning, and new greenery adorning the nest.

This is too good not to share. During our special “Spring” call-in Tuesday, Curt Stager and I heard of early season sightings of Great Blue Herons along the St. Lawrence River. Then our friend Mimi reported her first GBH sighting on her way back to Potsdam from answering phones at the fundraiser here.

Curt and I talked about how we weren’t sure when they really get to their mass rookeries to lay eggs and raise a family. I’ve watched a rookery from a distance, but, you know, what happens up in those Dr. Suess-like settings is pretty mysterious.

And THEN, I check my e-mail and the great people at the Cornell Ornithology Lab report herons with an egg in a nest where they’ve got a live webcam stream set up. It’s in a big dead white oak at their Sapsucker Woods site.

I love it…watching the wind blowing through the heron’s feathers as he/she? stands over the one egg. Two camera angles…and SOUND. Right now! Live!

Watch live streaming video from cornellherons at livestream.com

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25 Comments on “UPDATE: Up close with the heron family”

  1. Two Cents says:

    Had no idea their eggs were blue, and not much bigger than a chicken’s it seems.
    so what’s the gestation?

  2. Two Cents says:

    excuse me, “incubation”

  3. michael coffey says:

    I can’t stop watching the heron. It’s strange. I feel i have to protect it. And we do.

  4. Ellen Rocco says:

    Keep your whiskey, cigarettes and drugs–this lovely bird is my addiction!

  5. stillin says:

    Where I work someone I know shot one for eating fish out of their pond. Can you believe it it’s true, it’s against the law but up here, everybody’s afraid to report things due to backlash . I am so glad to see this family doing fine.

  6. Ellen Rocco says:

    Thanks to Aileen O’Donoghue, this link to the live eagle webcam from Iowa:


  7. Shakespeare107 says:

    Where is the nest?

  8. Dale says:

    Shakespeare107–It’s at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Sapsucker Woods Pond, Ithaca, New York.

    Dale Hobson, NCPR

  9. Shakespeare107 says:

    This is awesome, marvelous, wonderful, etc. It truly rocks my world. Blues are awesome – and now to have the chance to be so close to them is a gift. Thank you!

  10. Donna Smith-Raymond says:

    Gorgeous. . . just what I need: another beautiful bird to watch! I’m a big fan of owls, and right now I’m watching Mel and Sydney, Barn Owls in Oceanside, CA on USTREAM. Can’t get enough. Here’s the link to the inside cam: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/owlceanside But beware! You won’t stop until they fledge.

  11. Leslie Anne King says:

    Another egg this morning and much nest tending! I’m loving this.

  12. Lucy Martin says:

    This is truly wonderful, though potentially addictive.

    Herons have gorgeous plumage, but would never let it be admired this close unless they were in a cage, and that’s an unhappy scenario.

    The sound is fantastic, soothing and restorative. I like heights so it’s cool to get this tree-top vantage point. If you go to the actual website the live chat is pretty amusing too.

    Thanks for sharing!

  13. Martha Foley says:

    I’m addicted, that’s for sure. And as Lucy said, the sound is fantastic, and the view as well. Great when you’re behind a desk most of the day!

  14. Leslie Anne King says:

    Watch for another egg …. I saw them mating! There they were, right there in front of God and everybody, I felt like a voyeur.

  15. Sarah Clarkin says:

    This is inspiring and uplifting, providing a much needed perspective on the passage of time and pace of life. The book Great Blue by Marnie Crowell comes to mind. Thank you for providing….

  16. tootightmike says:

    It’s the sound that makes it addicting. What a wonderful window to look through.

  17. Two Cents says:

    The consensus was another egg sunday eve, 5:30ish.
    They have started to get serious about staying on the eggs now and take turns nesting and collecting sticks.
    They maxed out at four eggs last year and years before.
    First hatching will begin around the end of april.
    After the female laid the second egg, the male flew back to the nest with a forsythia branch, i kid you not.

  18. tootightmike says:

    This is maybe the coolest thing you’ve ever done. Maybe Radio Bob could install cameras on all of the towers.

  19. Two Cents says:

    all radio, cell phone towers could double as osprey,eagle,falcon, heron nests maybe? when applicable?
    Then no APA concerns about unsightlyness!

  20. tootightmike says:

    A question for Dale: if a thousand or so of us here at the NCPR website tune in to watch the eggs hatch…will that overload some system, or maybe bring about the end of the world as we know it??

  21. Paul says:


    There isn’t any backlash just report what you know here, you don’t have to give your name. Don’t let people get away with that sort of thing:

    TIPP DEC is a 24-hour telephone hotline that is also referred to as Turn in Poachers and Polluters. It is answered by live dispatchers. The TIPP phone number is 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332). Callers may request to file a complaint anonymously.


  22. michael coffey says:

    We saw egg no. 3 arrive last night (Sunday) at 6:05 pm; someone named Laura_cornellbirds predicts no. 4 tuesday around 5 pm. She was off by less than 20 minutes for egg 3.

    Being in manhattan, just the soundtrack to this site is a delight, with all the birdsong at sapsucker pond.

  23. Martha Foley says:

    Don’t tell anyone…I have the sound up pretty much all day in my office. I love hearing the natural world. And I can check what’s going on when there’s a honk or two as one of the herons arrives with a new stick, or they change places, or whatever.
    I think it’ll be lovely to see as spring foliage emerges around the pond. This make me want a viewing platform of my own.

  24. tootightmike says:

    Welcome to NPH, National Public Heron.

  25. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Mother great blue heron
    Patience and dedication
    An owl glides swiftly.

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