N is for Night Heron

N is for Night Heron

Last month, we studied a book about bird watching. (Find our Poppins Book Nook post here.) It was an amazing little book and I had no idea that it would spark a whole new hobby around here. I have enjoyed watching the birds out our back window, even now that it is so hot first thing in the morning that I don’t want to go outside and sit on the patio. The bigger surprise, though, is that E enjoys watching the birds as much as I do.

We now keep the binoculars and the field guide on the kitchen table. They get picked up grabbed several times a day. We are often seeing something new. And, that is what I want to share with you today.

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

N night heron adult

This bird is new. To us. But not to God. We had to look around quite a bit to find information on this bird. Luckily for us, a gentleman from church is a nature guy and was able to identify this fella for us. We have had so much fun watching this yellow-crowned night heron. But guess what is even more fun? Seeing the second and the third yellow-crowned night herons. They have the same stance, walk, feathers. Also, they all have this uncanny ability to stand amazingly rigid and stiff for-ev-er. Not kidding! I can watch the guy, walk away, and come back 10 minutes later (or even an hour later) and the bird has not moved.

These are the two that we see almost daily out our back windows. One has the obvious markings. After some research, we have decided that the other is a juvenile who hasn’t gotten its markings yet.

N two night herons

This one was spotted at the wetlands on our visit there last Friday. (Check out that post for more pictures from the wetlands.)

N heron at wetlands

Yellow-crowned night herons are considered swamp birds, though we don’t really live anywhere near a swap. The property we see them on behind us does have a pond, though, so that must be what they are attracted to. They are supposed to be nocturnal. I say supposed to because we have been seeing them during the day for the past week or so. We had just been seeing them early in the morning and late at night but that has changed as the temperatures have risen in the last week. The adults have the cream or yellow head stripe and cheek stripe. Juveniles do not have that. Also, the juvenile plumes are mostly grey with white spots and white tips. One of the identifying field marks of a yellow-crowned night heron is the red or orange eye. These clearly have that! These birds stalk insects and it is lots of fun to watch them.

N front view juvenile N back view of juvenile

For more information on yellow-crowned night herons, check out All About Birds and NatureWorks.

I have had lots of folks comment on the pictures I have shared of these birds privately so I figured it was time to share some of them publicly. They are evidently unusual to this area and they are really interesting to watch. At Home.

 

Linking up with ABC Blogging over on the Ben and Me blog.

Ben and Me
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