Saturday, July 06, 2002

Birds nesting at auto plant

Blue herons call GM complex home The Associated Press

        LORDSTOWN, Ohio — The home of General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunfire models has another eye-catching attraction: The annual migration of hundreds of great blue herons.

        The long-legged birds nest in a wooded corner of the sprawling GM complex alongside the Ohio Turnpike in northeast Ohio.

        Greg Mischley, environmental manager at GM, said the birds nest on about 40 acres and look for fish in the storm-water ponds across the street or in the nearby Meander Reservoir along Interstate 76.

        He said most of the birds come to the area in late winter or early spring, though some stay year-round.

        Each June, the nests are counted to give wildlife officials an idea of how many birds are there.

        Carole Babyak has been a part of the count since it began in 1976, when there were 253 nests. The number has been around 300 every year since.

        “It's an established colony,” she told The (Youngstown) Vindicator.

        The herons return year after year, often to the colony where they were raised.

        This year, 375 nests in 88 trees have been counted, making it the third-largest nesting area — also called a rookery or heronry — in Ohio.

        The largest areas are around Sandusky Bay, with one a heronry on Lake Erie's West Sister Island numbering up to 2,000 nests.

        The Ohio Division of Wildlife said there are heron breeding sites in 60 of Ohio's 88 counties.

        Ms. Babyak said there are other local heron rookeries, including one at Mosquito Lake north of Warren.

        Each nest usually consists of a male and female, with several chicks.

        One risk for the counters is that the birds will throw sticks, fish bones and other items at anyone who approaches. Counters use binoculars to look up into the tree and umbrellas and raincoats to protect themselves.

        Mr. Mischley said few people are aware of the heron nests at the GM complex. He speculated that the birds feel protected and comfortable in the wooded area of old trees.

        The area, which is also home to deer, beavers and Canada geese, is a protected area.

        “We've left it alone for many, many years,” Mr. Mischley said.


A small-town farewell for the world's 'girl singer'
Clock ticks for site of ATP event
Erpenbeck ruling expands lawsuit
College gets $1M in grants
Cyclists cheer on Armstrong
Groups can visit ballpark
July Fourth weekend events
Obituary: Elmer Gerner was WWII vet
Taxpayers won't move WCPO from city, Luken says
Tristate A.M. Report
Union Terminal, Audubon get historic due
MCNUTT: Neighborhoods
RADEL: 'Liberal idiot!'
SAMPLES: Run for life
Church burglary suspect indicted
Frost reading helper gets A+
Survey to explore bond issue
- Birds nesting at auto plant
Director of commission resigns
Bromley lawsuit can proceed
Priest's niece among 7 suing archdiocese
Smashups highlight fair
Wallace Wilkinson dead at 60
Wilkinson kept outsider status, even in office