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May 13, 2014

HORICON, Wis. - Success! Just in case you are wondering, the great blue heron couple and their nest that are the focus of a newly installed nest-cam in the heron rookery at Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center, hatched two of three eggs over the weekend, just in time for Mother's Day.

"We're thrilled that the herons were able to successfully hatch the chicks both for the enjoyment of our nest-cam watchers and for the growing heron population at Horicon," said Bret Owsley, Department of Natural Resources area wildlife supervisor. "We're waiting and watching like everyone else to see if egg number three hatches which could be today or tomorrow."

Chick number one hatched Saturday morning and chick number two pecked its way to daylight on Sunday. Typically, eggs are laid about one day apart. With three hungry chicks, the parents will have work to do feeding the rapidly growing youngsters.

"The male and the female will share the feeding duties," says Owsley, "they will consume up to four times their usual amount of food, which they will regurgitate at the nest to feed the chicks. It will take about 55 days for the chicks to grow their flight feathers and be ready for their first flight which should be sometime around the fourth of July."

The heron rookery on Horicon reached its pinnacle in the 1970s with an estimated 4,000 birds using the site. Over time, a combination of bad weather and Dutch elm disease caused the trees that supported the rookery to decline which resulted in a decrease in the number of tall sturdy trees the birds use for roosts. Wildlife management staff placed artificial nests, near the original location during the winter of 1992-93 consisting of telephone poles and angled slats of wood to bring the colonial nesting birds back. Additional structures and the nest-cam were added this year.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Liz Herzmann, Horicon wildlife educator, 920-387-7893 or Bob Manwell, DNR communications, 608-275-3317

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 13, 2014

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