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The following article was originally written for the October 2012 issue of “SWOAM News”, the newsletter of the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine

Great blue heron nests are often found in snags located in beaver flowages. Photo by Michael Merchant.

Great blue heron nests are often found in snags located in beaver flowages. Photo by Michael Merchant.

Mention the great blue heron and most envision a large bird with long legs and neck knee-deep in water slowly stalking its prey. These wetland icons also rely on trees, both live and dead, for nesting. These magnificent birds build large platform stick nests 8-100 ft up in trees and nest in groups, or colonies. In Maine, colonies occur on coastal and freshwater islands, in beaver flowages, and in upland settings. Their nests are built in mature hardwoods and softwoods and can be in live, dead, or dying trees. Chances are, your property is potential nesting habitat for these prehistoric looking and sounding birds.

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