Homemade Heron Rookery

I love this little male kestrel snacking on a small rodent it plucked from a field in Utah. I got its photo at the same place I had my unexpected weasel encounter called Farmington Bay WMA.

One of the coolest features about this wildlife management area is the homemade great blue heron rookery that is actually being used.  I've seen plans for these in books like the fabulous Woodworking For Wildlife and I've seen a few erected, but never have I seen an artificial heron rookery being used by herons.

I'm used to seeing great blue heron rookeries on the Mississippi River surrounded by trees, not with a dramatic background full of snow capped mountains--too cool.  Apparently, this heron nesting habitat was part of a boy scout project, that is one huge undertaking, but how sweet to see the kids' hard work pay off with actual birds.

Farmington works hard to keep humans from tramping on ground nesting birds.  Trails are blocked from motorized vehicle traffic during nesting season and signs warn you to watch your step.

Even dogs are kept away to prevent altercations with waterfowl or to protect wayward chicks from becoming unintentional chew toys.

Utah is loaded with yellow-headed blackbirds and they are one of the common nesting birds at this site as are shorebirds.  If you have limited time in Utah, this is worth a stop for western US specialties.