Magic Heron Tree

A few years ago, before I moved to my remote mountain community, I lived and worked in Denver. I’ve never been a city person, so I wasn’t very happy about my urban existence. At least my job was located in the outskirts of Denver and I could see some wildlife now and then. On my way to work every day, I drove through an office park next to a golf course, and I soon noticed a huge tree with several great blue heron nests in it. I took a co-worker to see it one day during our lunch break, and I described it as the Magic Heron Tree. The name stuck.

The herons return every year. I always watched them on my way to work, sometimes parking at one of the office buildings and staying for awhile if I had time. I remember one year an especially strong windstorm blew several of the nests out of the tree. I was heartbroken…but the birds rebuilt.

Last week I found myself traveling in that area, and I thought I would drive by and re-visit the Magic Heron Tree. It’s springtime, I thought, and the birds should be building nests. Sure enough, there’s a lot of activity in the tree, and I was so glad to see it. I’ve always wondered if these birds are all part of the same family…did these adults hatch in this tree? Do the same birds return every year, or are they different birds?

magic heron tree

When developers built this sprawling suburb in northwest Denver, they spared this tree and the pond at its base because of the golf course surrounding it. Local heron families turned it into a bird condo complex. I swear, this is the absolute biggest tree for miles around.

These neighbors agreed to live fairly close to each other.

These neighbors agreed to live fairly close to each other.

a great blue heron standing on his nest

That is a big nest!

I hope she's sitting on eggs already...

I hope she’s sitting on eggs already…

I counted 6 nests.

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33 comments

  1. This is so beautiful dear Ruth, I agree with you, I am not feeling myself as a city person too. Even I live in a city πŸ™‚ Can you believe this, in all my life I had a chance to watch and to take a picture of a heron and yes, I should have been so silent but my exciting made him to fly…. (In UK) I remember this again. Thank you for these beautiful post. Have a nice day, love, nia

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  2. poppytump

    Six nests ! Fantastic Ruth … I bet you were so pleased to re visit and see thriving little Heron families to be πŸ˜‰

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  3. Nice post and photos Ruth. In my part of the world (coastal GA), it’s unusual to be able to get very close to these nesting sites. Normally, the birds locate their rookery as far from humans as possible, and this frequently means in that one lone tree in the middle of the marsh. These locations also provide protection from egg-stealing snakes and raccoons. ~James

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  4. I can understand your wanting to detour just to see this – I would! There are several heron rookeries around here, and I’m not sure about how it is “decided” who nests where. If all the young each year returned to the same site it would get much bigger. I’m sure they can live for quite a few years, so I’m guessing maybe it’s mostly the same birds returning. Magic, like you said.

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