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The Passing of the Great Blue Heron at Santa Monica

W. Lee
Publication Information
2 (March-April)
From Field and Study

The Passing of the Great Blue Heron at Santa Monica

When I moved to Santa Monica in the fall of 1891 I had just about time to get used to the surroundings before the next collecting season, and found it the best outlook of any place I had ever been in. On the north are the Santa Monica Mountains, on the south Ballona swamp and between the two a sloping mesa. Here, as one might expect, a great variety of birds is to be found.

On the north side of town, twenty-two miles distant, is a large canyon the bottom of which is completely covered with immense sycamores. Here on May 13, 1895 I found a colony of great blue herons nesting aud counted in all about thirty-five nests, of which only three contained sets of four eggs each with incubation well advanced, a few young and the rest apparently deserted. The nests were placed in the tops of the tallest trees about seventy feet up and were composed entirely of sticks lined with a few sycamore leaves which I suppose fell into the nest from the branches above. The nests were as close together as nesting sites would permit and were all crowded in six or seven trees.

Every year the number of nests decreased until in 1900 only four nests were left, three of which were occupied, and in 1901 only one nest was to be seen and whether it was occupied or not I could not say as I only made one trip to the canyon. Next year I shall be surprised if any are there as the birds are being shot right along, although protected by the law.


Santa Monica, Cal.

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