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Grand River - High-Rise Herons

Big swamp birds thrive in a wetland haven

More on the Grand River:
Grand River:
Ontario’s historic heartland

Bloom Town:
The flowering of an old-style Ontario town

The Grand’s Canyon:
Tourism powers an old mill town

Grinding Along the Grand:
Stone mills lined the riverbanks

High-Rise Herons:
Big swamp birds thrive in a wetland haven

Home and Native Land:
Homestead of the Six Nations

Old Order:
Mennonites set their own pace of change

Plaster of Paris:
A town arises from gypsum and cobblestones

Raising Rainbows:
Rehabilitating a tired industrial river

Sausages to Software:
The Industrial Evolution

Grand Stand:
Survival of a river valley forest

Attempts in the 1800s to farm the area around Luther Marsh failed because the land had poor natural drainage. The problem was made worse by the clearing away of trees and natural vegetation which retain much of the runoff from rain and melting snow. Flooding became an annual problem.

Construction of a flood control reservoir in 1954 created what is now one of the most significant inland marshes in southern Ontario. Luther Marsh has since become a valuable staging and breeding area for waterfowl and other species of marsh wildlife.

Two observation towers allow visitors to view the marsh from a distance without disturbing the breeding sites of its wide variety of birds. The best way for naturalists to access the interior of the marsh is quietly — by canoe.

High-rise, artificial, nesting platforms have attracted many herons to the marsh. These long-necked, long-legged wading birds hunt for small fish, insects, amphibians, reptiles, and crustaceans in shallow water.

The egret, merlin, osprey, red-necked grebe, canvas back, lesser scaup, and Wilson's Phalarope are just a few of the 237 species of birds that can be observed in the marsh.

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