Come home to Highland!





It has been an annual rite of spring – the return of the great blues to their nesting grounds in the tall trees above the Little Calumet marsh – and an opportunity for residents to watch them as up close and personal as anyone should get to a nesting heron family.


In Highland’s case, a pair of the majestic birds, which boast spindly long legs, a distinctive “S” crook in their necks and wingspans that can measure up to 72 inches, began nesting along the marsh more than 20 years ago.


Over time, generations of fully grown hatchlings along with new neighbors moved into the adjacent tall trees and a colony was born.


Over the last five years, the town has worked to develop an observation area along Liable Road, which provides ideal viewing of the life and times of Highland’s blue herons.


Highland Main Street saw the opportunity to develop the attraction for tourists, as well as residents. Signs will be installed to guide visitors downtown to enjoy the restaurants, retail and commercial offerings. People will be able to bike or walk the loop from downtown to the levee to the Rookery and back.


Main Street volunteer Darlene Barron has become a caretaker, of sorts, for the herons, as well as a champion of the rookery observation area, which should be sporting new signs and other improvements yet this year.


“It is wonderful to see them return, year after year,” she said. “They’re incredible birds and we are lucky they decided to stop here.”

Bring a pair of binoculars and head east along the Little Calumet River Levee Trail or the Erie Lakawanna Trail until you reach Liable Road to enjoy spectacular views of birds, ducks, geese and water-loving mammals.



SPRING FLING: You can’t miss them in the spring when the Heron’s prepare to nest. They squabble and are loud as they build fresh nests or refurbish old ones in the tall treetops along the Little Calumet River adjacent to Interstate 80/94 and along the corridor of Cline Avenue. [ Darlene Barron photos ] 

In addition to the majestic Blue Herons, owls, Killdeer, Redwing Black Birds, an eagle, ducks, Canadian Geese, Great White Egrets and many more call the Highland rookery home.


The trails and rookery are open year-round to all schools, Girl and Boy Scout troops, bird watchers and nature lovers. No appointment is necessary – just escape to the natural beauty of one of Northwest indiana's most beautiful wetlands.


Benches and fixed binoculars are available for your viewing pleasure.

The Rookery is a partnership between Highland Main Street, Highland Redevelopment Commission, Highland Community Foundation, Highland Parks & Recreation and the Legacy Foundation, which provided a grant for signage, stationary binoculars, brochures and a bench.

Highland Main Street is seeking donations to improve the parking and landscape area by the substation, which is the access point to the rookery. Donations can be mailed to the Town of Highland, 3333 Ridge Road, Highland, IN 46322. Please indicate Blue Heron Fund in the memo line.