The peaceful drive onto Jamestown Island allows a look to the left towards the Back Creek and will often produce a Great Blue Heron sighting. These magnificent birds are prolific along the island’s shores and in its marshes throughout the year. Most herons rely on a diet of fish, although they have been known to consume small mammals and even small birds. Blue Herons nest in trees, and it is possible to spy a nest on the island loop road when they are active in the spring.
The early Jamestown colonists would have been acquainted with a heron species from Europe, the Grey Heron, which looks virtually identical to the Great Blue Heron. Pre-1610 archaeological contexts at James Fort show that Great Blue Heron were a part of the colonists’ diets.
“In Winter there are great plentie of Swans, Cranes, gray and white with blacke wings, Herons, Geese, Brants, Ducke, Wigeon, Dotterell, Oxeies, Parrats, and Pigeons. Of all those sorts great abundance, and some other strange kinds, to us unknowne by name.”
-Captain John Smith