Post Point Heron Colony

​​​​​​​The Post Point Heron Colony is the only known heron nesting site in the City of Bellingham. The colony is occupied by Great Blue Herons, a species listed as Priority Species by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Due to their Priority Species status, the colony is protected under the City’s Critical Areas Ordinance as a Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Area (Bellingham Municipal Code 16.55).

Photo by Lou Nicksic

The colony is located on the forested slope between the Post Point Resource Recovery Plant and Shorewood Drive and adjacent to the Post Point Lagoon. The Post Point Heron Colony was first documented in 2000. The colony formed when Great Blue Herons were displaced from a nesting colony along Chuckanut Drive in 1999 and settled at current Post Point site in 2000.

The City recognizes the colony as a unique habitat and has taken a variety of stewardship measures. The City commissioned a management plan for the colony in 2003 and in 2004 the City Council committed to continuing conservation and protection measures for the heron colony on the City’s Post Point property (Resolution 2004-10). The City also funded a 2005 scientific baseline study, 2019 updated management recommendations, and annual monitoring since 2005. In 2022, the City further protected the colony through the purchase of 1.72 acres of colony buffer along Shorewood Drive. Please see below for relevant reports.

Photo by Lou Nicksic

The herons typically occupy the site annually between February and August. They utilize a variety of habitats in and around the colony for nesting, roosting, loafing, foraging and staging. Of particular importance are the foraging areas along the Bellingham Bay nearshore. Herons typically forage within three miles of their nesting site and are known to prefer foraging in the eelgrass habitat of protected embayments, such as the Post Point Lagoon. Juvenile and fledging herons are often observed experimenting with foraging techniques in the lagoon’s protected environment. Learn more about the Post Point Lagoon restoration project, heron monitoring, and heron management below.

Protect the Heron Colony

Great Blue Herons typically utilize habitat near Post Point Lagoon and Marine Park for nesting and feeding between January 15 and September 1. During this time, please follow these guidelines to help protect our local heron colony:

  • Maintain distance of at least 300 feet from herons feeding along the beach and lagoon.
  • Limit noise and large groups when within and near the heron nesting and feeding areas (see blue area in map below).
  • Keep dogs on leash.
  • Avoid flying drones, kites, or using kite boards in the heron nesting and feeding areas (see blue area in map below).
Aerial image of the Post Point Resource Recovery Plant, Marine Park, and Bellingham Bay. A blue highlighted area that extends through Post Point Lagoon and the nearby shoreline and trees indicates where herons nest and feed.
Blue highlighted area indicates approximate heron nesting and feeding area.

Additional Information



​Analiese Burns
Habitat and Restoration Manager
Public Works Department, Natural Resources
(360) 778-7968,