Grey Heron

A juvenile grey heron (Ardea cinerea) photographed in the reserve at the weekend by Cheryl Cronnie.

The grey herons that visit the reserve at this time of year are usually residents of the centuries old heronry at Great Bradford Wood on the River Avon. At the end of the breeding season, the juvenile birds disperse up and down the local rivers and the Kennet and Avon Canal.

Adult herons are very territorial, fiercely protective of their fishing rights, so juvenile birds can have a hard time of it during their first winter, and almost 30% of them will not survive.

There are 13,000 breeding pairs of grey herons in the UK but numbers are boosted by migrants to 63,000 birds during the winter. Overall and in the long term, grey heron populations are increasing.

Protected by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Present UK conservation status: Green

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