NBC12 paid a visit to the great blue heron rookery at Pipeline Rapids in downtown Richmond and spoke with James River Park manager Ralph White, who was as colorful and knowledgable as ever. See the video on NBC12.com:
“This is a unique experience for anyone in any setting and lo and behold, this one is in an urban setting,” said James River Park manager Ralph White. “You don’t see birds like this in urban settings, they’re usually afraid of people.”
The draw for the herons is the cleanliness of the river and the plentiful fish. It wasn’t always this way. But the fish are back, and they are bringing the birds with them.
“There’s this very interesting quintessentially male behavior where the bird, or the male flies away, picks up a stick, about as thick as a pencil and maybe this long, and ceremoniously brings it back to the female and puts it in the nest and she looks at him, fluffs here feathers, reaches over, picks it up, and puts it where it’s supposed to go…and the poor males never learn it and they always do it over and over and over again,” White said.