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Lower-than-usual water levels make the majestic birds easier to spot. If you’ve pointed or gawked at a great blue heron chilling along the Rideau Canal this spring, you’re not alone. There aren’t necessarily more herons in the Ottawa area this year, but they’ve certainly been easier to spot, said Alexander Stone, environmental program officer with the National Capital Commission. The reason: lower-than-normal levels on the region’s waterways. When water levels are lower, Stone said, there’s less distance between the surface and the small fish, amphibians and other aquatic creatures great blue herons dine on….While great blue heron populations have stayed relatively stable, it’s a different story for another unmissable bird. Great egret populations have been on the rise every year since the first nest was spotted in the National Capital Region in 2005, Stone said. The reason, however, remains a mystery. “It could be related to a number of factors including species distribution — they may be finding themselves able to expand. Or it could be related to climatic events,” said Stone. “But we don’t know what’s driving the population increase.”

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