Home for the Herons in Cook County, Illinois

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Coming Home to Nest

Forced out of their native habitats by development, herons and egrets began to overcrowd the Baker's Lake Nature Reserve, which is owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. In the process, the birds also destroyed much of the natural vegetation at the nesting site.

To recreate a home for the birds, the District, in cooperation with the Citizens for Conservation, uses Christmas Trees to create nesting structures. Annually, the project uses 300-400 recycled Christmas Trees to attract hundreds of pairs of great blue herons, great egrets, cormorants and black-crowned night herons to the rookery.

The Heron Rookery at Baker's Lake reuses Christmas Trees as nesting materials for the birds, many of which are forced away from their native habitats due to overcrowding.