The Port of Long Beach is currently developing the former U.S. Naval Station Long Beach into a marine container terminal. When the Naval Station was operational, a large Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) colony (up to 500 pairs) occupied mature Indian Laurel (Ficus microcarpa) and Olive (Olea europaea) trees that lined the Station streets. Although Black-crowned Night Herons are abundant throughout southern California, a nesting colony of this size is unusual. As part of an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Port agreed to relocate the colony prior to construction of the terminal. In 1999, 50 mature Indian Laurel, Olive, and Paperbark (Melaleuca sp.) trees were boxed and transported to a location in the port approximately two km from the original site. The relocated trees supplemented approximately 70 trees and bushes already at the location, formerly a park. Black-crowned Night Heron decoys were placed in the trees, heron vocalizations recorded from the original colony site were played twice per day, and public access to the site was eliminated. Three years of monitoring have shown that nesting has been successful and has increased at the relocation site; in 2000, 1,128 young were produced from 423 nests. Three years remain in the monitoring plan. No other documented relocation of an entire Black-crowned Night Heron colony of this size is recorded.
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Vol. 25 • No. 4