I enjoy watching the sunsets and sunrises. I must admit that I missed so many of these moments before I retired. Now I don’t really have an excuse. As I sat on my dock this evening and watched the sunset, the wispy cirrus clouds seemed to be painted in shapes that reminded me of birds on wing (of course)! Dusk and dawn bring out some recent arrivals to the Broward. You already met George, the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Now meet his “cousin” the Black-crowned Night-Heron.
The Black-crowned Night-Heron is the most common of all the herons. According to the Cornell Ornithology lab “With a range that spans five continents, including much of North America, the Black-crowned Night-Heron is the most widespread heron in the world. It is most active at dusk and at night, feeding in the same areas that other heron species frequent during the day.” My experience is that they are very illusive birds. Once you locate where they roost you often have to wait and watch to catch them in the open or on wing. The solution I found is to camp out nearby and just wait for an opportunity. Fortunately for me they roost next door in my cousins tree with George and several other Night Herons. There is also a large group roosting and nesting at the zoo near the Wood Storks this time of year. The young Black-Crowned are brown and stippled with white streaks and gradually turn to a light blue grey with white underbelly and a dark blue-black crown on the head and back. The red eyes are large and prominent. These stocky herons grab their food vice stab it. In the hot Florida afternoons and early evenings they love to cool off in the water just like us. We hit almost 90 degrees this week and the ac has kicked in. I found this Black-Crowned Night Heron sitting in the water as if it were "coolin it" and enjoying a Jacuzzi at the zoo. When a mating rival comes close they tend to really puff up and defend their territory and get very noisy. Otherwise they seem to be a very communal birds living in small colonies with other Herons. By positioning myself on my dock and near their roosting area I captured a number of photos, hope you enjoy. Other than “George” they are one of the few birds I have seen the past few weeks.
“Sunrise, Sunset, quickly fly the days” go the popular lyrics from Fiddler on the Roof. How true. The days and years seem to be flying by lately. The young babies I saw when I built my home are now driving. Where did the time go? Take time to watch a sunset or catch a sunrise this week with a cup of coffee. And if things start to get too hot this spring, just cool your bottom like the night herons. Be Blessed. Harry