Dispatch from reporter Richard Meryhew:

As residents picked at debris in their homes, yards and streets, dozens of Great Blue heron flew about the North Mississippi River Regional Park near the Camden Avenue Bridge searching for nests destroyed by the tornado.

“It’s truly devastating,” said Dawn Sommers, spokeswoman for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.  “The tree tops are missing. The last time I counted, there were up to 80 nests there. These are huge, enormous nests. And driving down the freeway today, I couldn’t spot one. It just made my heart sink.”

Sommers said park crews cleaning debris from the area Monday were watching for injured herons or chicks.

She said anyone coming across injured wildife can bring the bird or animal to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville or check the organization’s website at www.wrcmn.org.

David Salmela sent along these photos of the devastated rookery, and this description: 

I was out on the river today and took some pictures of the "Heron Rookery Island" near the Camden Bridge in N. Minneapolis. Since we live on the river, we visit this island frequently. The damage is astounding, nearly half of the trees are gone, every nest (there must have been 100 or more?) and all of the babies are dead and many adults are injured.