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After the Mpls. tornado, herons find a new home

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Heron rookery
A great blue heron watches over a nest of chicks on the Mississippi River near the Riverside Power Plant in Minneapolis, Minn. Thursday, May 17, 2012. The herons were displaced after last year's tornado in north Minneapolis, and have reestablished a rookery on an island on the upper portion of the Mississippi River National River and Recreation Area.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

A year ago, a tornado hit the north side of Minneapolis, causing the deaths of two residents and damage in the millions.

Another casualty of the storm was a Great Blue Heron Rookery at North Mississippi Regional Park, near downtown Minneapolis.  Nearly 200 nests were destroyed when the cottonwood trees on the birds' home island were blown down.

A rescue operation quickly mobilized, and 13 chicks and one adult heron were rescued and released. 

The adults that had left the roost -- as it turns out -- relocated quickly.

This week, MPR's Tom Crann went in search of the herons' new home, just upstream in the Mississippi on an island near Marshall Terrace Park.  A boat ride, and National Park Ranger and self-described "bird chick" Sharon Stiteler, took him there.

Click the audio player above to hear Crann's report.