03/03/2016 11:00 EST | Updated 03/04/2017 00:12 EST

Heron cam in Stanley Park will broadcast in HD quality

A new $3,000 camera at Stanley Park will start broadcasting a live feed of the Vancouver park's heron population starting at 11 a.m. PT Thursday.

The Vancouver Park Board says the camera will offer nature enthusiasts better access to the birds and give scientists studying the heron colony a closer look. 

Maria Egerton, the conservation projects manager with the Stanley Park Ecology Society, says the old camera was in standard definition and didn't provide many angles to view the park's popular Pacific great blue herons.

The colony, which consists of about 300 herons, is home to around 100 active nests that produced 175 fledgling herons in 2015. It's located behind the park board offices in Stanley Park. 

These herons are a species at risk in Canada and the Stanley Park colony is a vital part of the South Coast population. One-third of great blue herons worldwide live around the Salish Sea.

The new camera is high definition and viewers can take turns controlling it from home.

"We have 13 different angles we can work with as well as zoomed-in and zoomed-out viewscapes where we can see the whole colony," said Egerton. 

She says the upgrade comes just in time to see "fun courtship behaviour" with the birds.

"They do this beak-wrestling thing where they grab each other's beaks and pull back and forth and they squawk at each other and the males defend their nests," she said. "There's a lot of fun courtship behaviour to see"

The popular live feed got about 100,000 views from March to August last year.