Egrets are falling from their nests on Google's campus

At the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley, workers say they’ve seen an increase in the number of young egrets  -- 39 in the last two months – that have been brought in for care after falling out of their nests.

“It’s common especially around the fledgling stage when they’re going to be out exploring and searching for their own food, sometimes they become debilitated or injured in that process or sometimes they’re pushed out by other siblings when they’re too young,” said Ashley Kinney, hospital manager, WCSV.

The birds are coming from the Google campus in Mountain View and are typically brought in by animal control officers.

A large colony of egrets, including Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets, has been nesting there for years, since well before Google was housed here.

A Google spokesperson said the company and the city have worked to close the stretch of road where the birds nest to protect them during breeding season.

Many in the community enjoy watching them. Some think they look a bit prehistoric, like mini-dinosaurs.

“They’re beautiful birds. If you see them flying, it doesn’t look like a normal bird. You can tell it’s distinct,” said Parker Lewis, of Mountain View.

“They’re our little neighbors and they make funny noises,” said Susan Lewis, of Mountain View. “They’re a lot of fun.”

As for why the wildlife center might be seeing more, it may be simply because the colony is thriving.

“I think it’s because they’re becoming more and more popular in that area, more and more are going to be seen on the ground,” said Kinney. “More human activity in the area is going to bring more attention to the orphaned and injured birds.”

The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society adds that there seems to be more birds in the colony than in previous years, likely in part due to efforts to protect them. The group also said chicks falling out of nests is part of the natural cycle of life.

The birds can be seen near Shorebird Way and Charleston for a few more weeks through the breeding season, which typically ends in July or August. 

Google and Audubon even hold weekly Egret office hours on Thursday, where employees and the general public are invited to observe and learn more.

WCSV workers say if you see a bird on the ground that appears to be struggling, it’s best to contact animal control to assess whether the bird actually needs help.