You’ll find several great stories about Black-Crowned Night Herons at Bird Note: http://birdnote.org/bird/black-crowned-night-heron-nycticorax-nycticoraxThere are juveniles at this time of year, too, like the one above and the one below. Juveniles of both Night Herons are generally brownish with white spots and streaks, until they gradually develop the distinct coloration of their parents. Personally, I still find it difficult to discern one juvenile from the other. We’ve seen several juveniles in the past couple of weeks, and these birds often return to the same nests year after year, but I didn’t see Night Heron nests this season. One year they nested in a tree overhead so close to the boardwalk, you could almost touch their nest! (See more at http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Yellow-crowned_Night-Heron/lifehistory).
Night Herons are most active at night (as you might guess from their name), so they are most often pretty subdued and hard to find during the day. In fact, even though it’s exciting to catch sight of them, they can be so inactive in daylight that it’s a big event when they close or open their eyes, or turn around!Just the other day, I was delighted to see this Yellow-Crowned Night Heron fly in suddenly and swoop right over my shoulder. They are nocturnal birds, but they begin foraging at dusk, so early evening is a good time to spot them.
It was nice of him to stand out in the open for awhile! When I saw him lean over and look down, I even thought he might fly off again. Sure enough, he did fly off, just as I was looking the other way – missed a great in-flight, close-up shot! Oh well, maybe next time . . .