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Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Posted on Oct 28, 2016

The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) is an odd-looking creature, especially when you watch one creeping slowly through the salt marsh or perched high up in a tree. I do not want to add the demonic or monstrous label to them because they are lovable in their own way, but it feels like an appropriately strange species to highlight as we near Halloween. They can be found active throughout the day, but their somewhat secretive crepuscular and nocturnal feeding habits add to that feeling.

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I took these photos of a bird at a nest site earlier this spring.

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It was still working on putting its home together on a cool April afternoon. All of those sticks have to be placed justttttt right, but even then, it seems like a light breeze could knock it down. Somehow eggs and young manage to stay put and grow up…impressive!

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With that said, there is a reason a bird is threatened in some areas as their foraging or breeding habitats may be removed or negatively impacted because of direct human action, and their crustacean diet is a very particular choice. Additionally, the predators that our changes to the environment have aided – mammals like the Raccoon plus birds like the Fish or American Crow and various gulls – take their eggs or young. Please keep caring about our lesser-known and more unusual birds like this one so that they can continue to haunt our coastal habitats for all time.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator