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Published May 25, 2011, 09:28 AM

Tornado wiped out rookery for great blue herons

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The tornado that devastated north Minneapolis wiped out a rookery for great blue herons along the Mississippi River.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The tornado that devastated north Minneapolis wiped out a rookery for great blue herons along the Mississippi River.

Sharon Stiteler, a ranger with the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, estimates more than 180 nests on Heron Island, each holding two or three hatchlings, were blown from trees toppled in the tornado. She says most of the adult birds likely left as the storm approached.

The Star Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/lcXesl) that hundreds of adult herons swooped over the river after the tornado passed, searching for nests and hatchlings that were gone. Most have now moved on.

Stiteler's crew counted one dead adult and about 60 dead chicks. Many more chicks likely were thrown into the river. A few adults and chicks were rescued and taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center.

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