The Post Point Heron Colony is the only known heron nesting site in the City of Bellingham. The colony is occupied by Great Blue Herons, a species listed as Priority Species by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Due to their Priority Species status, the colony is protected under the City's Critical Areas Ordinance as a Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Area (Bellingham Municipal Code 16.55).
The colony is located on the forested slope between the Post Point Resource Recovery Plant and Shorewood Drive and adjacent to the Post Point Lagoon. The Post Point Heron Colony was first documented in 2000. The colony formed when Great Blue Herons were displaced from a nesting colony along Chuckanut Drive in 1999 and settled at current Post Point site in 2000. The City commissioned management plan for the colony in 2003 and in 2004 the City Council committed to continuing conservation and protection measures for the heron colony on the City's Post Point property (Resolution 2004-10). The City began annual monitoring of the colony in 2005. Please see below for annual monitoring reports.
The herons typically occupy the site annually between February and August. They utilize a variety of habitats in and around the colony for nesting, roosting, loafing, foraging and staging. Of particular importance are the foraging areas along the Bellingham Bay nearshore. Herons typically forage within three miles of their nesting site and are known to prefer foraging in the eelgrass habitat of protected embayments, such as the Post Point Lagoon. Juvenile and fledging herons are often observed experimenting with foraging techniques in the lagoon's protected environment. Learn more about the Post Point Lagoon restoration project, heron monitoring, and heron management below under Additional Information.