OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – The Oakland Zoo has resumed patrols aimed at protecting baby herons near Lake Merritt for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Members of the zoo’s Heron Rescue Team were out Wednesday patrolling near Chinatown and the lake, where the birds are known to roost. The team was on the lookout for recently-hatched chicks that may have fallen or jumped out of their nests.
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While it’s normal for the species, the team said it can present a big problem in an urban setting.
“They usually land near the bushes or on the grass,” Leslie Storer of the zoo told KPIX 5. But the issue here is that these rookeries are right above the street, cars. “
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On their patrols, team members look for eggshells on the ground. The shells can tell them where chicks are hatching, and give an indication of their heath.
As for why the herons are making their nests in such precarious positions, the experts aren’t even sure.
“We’ve tried, we’ve made some efforts to get the birds to go to Lake Merritt, with decoy birds, decoy sounds and decoy nests and stuff like that saying ‘Hey guys, look at this great nest opportunity over here,’ Storer said. “But they chose to come back to these trees”
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The Oakland Zoo is asking anyone who spots an injured bird to give them a call, or to visit their website.