Head for heights

A sign reads 'QUIET PLEASE NESTING HERONS' and Bill Oddie quips that if there’s one thing nesting herons are incapable of being it’s quiet! He's visiting a heron colony in a wood where the nests are way up at the top of the trees. These are oak trees which were planted years and years ago for the Bristol ship industry and when they got really tall the herons thought 'brilliant - we’ll nest right at the top'. Apparently there are 120 of them, yet down here Bill can’t really see one properly. To get a decent view a bit of climbing is required and Bill is strapped into a sling seat and hauled up the tree. He discovers that there's a bit of a squabble going on right at the top, that looks like a runt getting bullied by the others. He’s quite likely to get pushed out of the nest - heron mortality rate is quite high, although they can live a long long time, well over 25 years. In Somerset, they call them 'erns', not herons. I think people are often surprised that herons do nest up in the tops of the trees when in fact of course they spend most of their time wading around in the water. Which is exactly where an awful lot of the adult birds will be right now collecting anything they can - frogs, eels. An adult heron regurgitates masses of food to its chicks, proof of just how much they eat. And as the droppings on the tree show, an awful lot comes out the other end from one tiny little baby.

Release date:


6 minutes

This clip is from

Featured in...