Why Are Tricolored Herons in Nantucket?

Tricolored_heron Since the 1940s, Tricolored (formerly Louisiana) Herons, a bird of the South, have been seen rarely in the Nantucket, Massachusetts area but now they are nesting there.  Some say it is a warming climate at work.

Kenneth Turner Blackshaw from the Nantucket Independent reports:

“Humans may argue whether the climate is changing, but the birds figured it out years ago. I never looked for this week’s bird in the 50s. It didn’t make the pages of “The Birds of Nantucket” by Griscom and Folger. Besides, it carried the name Louisiana Heron back then, so why would it ever find its way to Massachusetts? The answer is that when you can just fly, at the drop of a hat so to speak, you can just show up where no one expects you.

Tricolored Herons are anything but endangered, within their normal range that is. At this time Nantucket is at the northern extreme. Herons wander widely after their nesting is completed and perhaps they are cataloging places where they might like to live next year.  It looks right now that our warming trend is just beginning. So if it’s just the ambient temperatures that caused these delicate and fascinating herons to be with us, perhaps we’ll see more of them.”  See full article.