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More Bird Releases in the Ballona Freshwater Marsh

By Mychel Bradley


July has definitely been a month of independence for the beautiful birds of Ballona Wetlands. Over the last few weeks, Friends of Ballona Wetlands staff have released four rehabilitated herons-one juvenile great blue heron, two snowy egrets, and one juvenile black-crowned night heron- into the thriving and abundant habitat of the freshwater marsh.


Bird releases are special moments for those who work towards protecting the health of the birds and their habitats, but they can be very scary moments for many birds. It’s important to understand all of the sensory changes a wild animal experiences as it returns to its habitat.


GBH 1

This juvenile great blue heron was brought to the FWM by International Bird Rescue in a large crate, which FBW staff assisted in carefully placing near the water’s edge in a protected area of the marsh.


GBH 2

After opening the door to the crate, we gave the heron a few moments to adjust to the rich and active habitat that awaited him- full of fish, frogs, freshwater, tule, cattails, and hundreds of other bird species.


GBH 3

An adult great blue heron soared above the marsh far in the distance, and over the ground cover and right into the air went the rehabilitated juvenile heron!


GBH 4

He flew low at first, taking in not only the abundance of his new home, but also the potential presence of any predators that may be looking for lunch among the reeds. He soared off in the distance, happy to be home!


Later in the month, we released three additional rehabilitated birds-two snowy egrets, and a juvenile black-crowned night heron.


SNEG 3

IBR was once again to the rescue, arriving with three large crates each containing a very lucky heron ready to be released back into the wild after a long and successful rehabilitation.


SNEG 4

IBR and FBW staff prepared the crates, and all three were opened simultaneously. The snowy egrets ventured out of the crate first, with one egret so excited to see the marsh that he actually flew out of his crate!


SNEG 1

After landing, he proceeded to explore his new home by foot.


The other was more cautious of his new environment and its potential predators, jumping quickly into the tule along the waterfront and deciding to take his time before moving elsewhere.


SNEG 2

Slowly but surely, the juvenile black-crowned night heron emerged from his crate.


BCNH 1

Young and still figuring bird life out, he calmly waded in the water and checked out his new home from there.


All of the releases were a great success, with these native birds back where they belong in the healthy and vivacious habitat of the freshwater marsh.


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