The folks in the Riverwalk Bird Club don't just watch birds. The group includes some excellent photographers.
Nooga.com Outdoors is happy to share their great photos by featuring a Bird of the Week.
This week, we feature a yellow-crowned night heron, taken by Charles Dean.
A nocturnal heron of the southern swamps and coasts, the yellow-crowned night heron can also be found breeding along wooded streams northward to Indiana and Illinois.
—Yellow-crowned night heron live in or near wetlands—on the coast along islands, mangroves and barrier beaches; farther inland in wooded swamps, forested uplands, and lakes and rivers; and sometimes near residential areas. They usually nest in small colonies, sometimes with other wading birds, and forage along tidal marshes, in tide pools and the shores of water bodies where crustaceans are abundant.
—The great majority of the yellow-crowned night heron's diet consists of crustaceans. They eat many kinds of crabs, including blue, ghost and fiddler crabs, as well as crayfish. Other prey include insects, fish, snails, earthworms, marine worms and leeches. Occasionally, they've been found eating lizards, snakes, young birds, mice and small rabbits.
—Both sexes help build the nest, which can be as high as 60 feet or so, away from the trunk on a horizontal limb, often hanging over water. The female stands on the nest site while the male carries sticks to her as part of the pair-bonding process. As the nest comes along, the female begins to gather sticks, as well—the birds typically strip sticks from the limbs of dead trees rather than gathering them from the ground. Sticks can be up to about 2 feet long and 1 inch thick. The twig nest is sometimes lined with leaves, vines or Spanish moss. The nest takes about 11 days to build initially; night herons use them for several years, adding to them each year. Nests can be 4 feet across, with just a shallow depression inside for the eggs.
This information is courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
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