Representatives of Citizens for Conservation recently completed the annual nesting count of herons, egrets, and cormorants at Barrington's Baker's Lake Island Rookery.
Robert Sliwinski, senior wildlife biologist from Christopher Burke Engineering, reported that the populations of all birds are down from that of 2013.
There are about 300 nests this year, with cormorants having taken over many of the nesting areas. Four black-crowned night heron nests were observed. Before 1990, the black-crowned night herons population ranged between 150 and 200.
Sliwinski determined that the utility poles that anchor the rookery are strong, but several platforms with cross bars and cantilever arms for nests will need significant repairs. In Sliwinski's formal report, his recommendations include repairing the support arms, moving the special prototype nesting platforms up to the highest level to encourage the great blue herons, and adding more platforms.
He also advised continuing the Christmas tree program along the shoreline, which encourages nesting egrets, and creating more nesting spots cut out from the Christmas trees to encourage more black-crowned night herons.
The utility poles and platforms were a joint project erected in 2000, engineered by Sliwinski. Other partners in the half million-dollar project were: Illinois Nature Preserves, Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Will County Forest Preserve District, Landscape Resources Inc., Brookfield Zoo, Wisconsin District of Natural Resources, ComEd, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation and the village of Barrington.