By Sean Welsh
One of the most beautiful birds in the mid-Atlantic is thriving in the Chesapeake Bay.
A report from a Virginia university suggests the Great Blue Heron population has rebounded in the Chesapeake Bay region.
The Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William & Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University says that breeding populations “have made a dramatic comeback,” based on a survey from this year.
That survey, conducted by the center, noted that 407 breeding colonies, including 14,126 pairs of the species, make the Great Blue Heron “the most widespread and abundant breeding waterbird in the Chesapeake Bay.”
Great egrets are also rebounding, the report found. In 39 colonies, researchers found 1,775 egret pairs—a three-fold increase in population of the species in the region over the past three decades, the report stated.
The survey was conducted via 200 hours of aerial study, covering more than 900 of the bay’s tributaries, the report stated.
The study was carried out by Bryan Watts and Bart Paxton, of the Center for Conservation Biology.
Herons live in areas all over North America, most often from the Caribbean to the U.S.-Canadian border, according to National Geographic.