It occurred to me after the last post that I kinda let the cat out of the bag on one of my previously unpublished additions to the Birding Life List. If you recall I mentioned my brother Ron and I had taken a trip down to Emiquon in Havana IL to snap a few shots of the Black-Crowned Night-Heron for his list – the implication was I did not need that particular bird for mine. Well, that was actually true because I had the privilege to shoot one at the Denver Botanical Zoo a few years back.
Now technically I did post what I believe to be the Juvi of this species back in 2013 (link here), but truthfully, the Juvis just do not convey how cool looking these birds are. All that newbie brown gives way to a stunning display of color from the gray, black and white that dominate the body colors down to the haunting blood-red eyes. Since I knew the adult was in the tin, I went ahead and counted it in my Birding Life List – it was actually already on the List Gallery along with the Juvi. I snuck one in on you.
Hit the jump to read and see a bit more of this majestic bird.
This particular bird capture was a bit of a surprise for me. Linda and I had decided to take in the Denver Botanical Gardens on our way back from our Yellowstone National Park trip. Botanical Gardens happens to be one of my favorite places to take the camera. They tend to have a nice collection of statues and oddities paired with interesting flowers to keep the shutter snapping for hours. It also provides an enticing setting to draw local birds!
So there we were taking in the numerous sights and having a wonderful time. In case you missed it, you can see their nice collection of status on this post (link here). We entered the Oriental Gardens area and was checking out their pond area when I noticed an intriguing bird statue positioned out on the rocks in the middle of the water. I pointed this statue out to Linda as we passed by. We continued on a bit and we started questing whether this was a statue or not. This brought us down closer to the water where we continued to debate – it wasn’t moving and I wasn’t familiar with the bird so there was no reason to believe it was actually real. I took a few more shots anyway. Then it MOVED. Holy crap, it was alive! At the time, this was a top tier bird for me. Problem is, I still had no idea what it was.
First person I looked to was the grounds keeper that was tending to the plants nearby. I pointed out the bird in the pond nearby and asked him if he knew what it was – the assumption was that it might have been a standard residence of the Gardens and possibly specifically brought in to dress up the place. He had no idea and surprisingly informed me that it was a visitor to the area and he had not seen it there before. Wow… a special sighting. This prompted me to find a place to sit to do some researching on the Internet. Eventually it was identified bringing a big smile to this birder. Triumphant, I went back to the keeper and let him know what it was in case other individuals had similar curiosity. He thanked me and proceeded to relay this new information minutes later when another couple asked him about it.
So what do you think of it in black in white? Was working this one up for the fairs this year, but opted to use other shots – will probably bring this to the competitions next year.
There you have it – the adult Black-Crowned Night-Heron. Glad to be able to get this gem for my brother as well. Oh.. some interesting fact. To Cornell we dash. There were a couple of interesting tidbits with this particular bird. The first being they must be a Cowbird’s dream bird. They will raise any chick that ends up in its nest. Knowing how the asshole Cowbirds consider parasitic brooding an art, I’m guessing the Night-Herons end up raising a lot of brown birds because they don’t distinguish their own from other offspring. The other interesting fact was the juvis leave the nest at 1 month, but cannot fly until they are 1.5 months old. As a result, they have to forage for food like us non-feathered humans – on foot. They may be declining a bit from their >50,000 numbers, but for now, still carrying a Least Concern Conservation Status (yeah).
Well, that is all I have for now. For those that are busy penning up more hate mail for all the recent bird posts there may be some relief in sight. I think the next post will feature fur, not feathers. No promises, but at least there’s some hope.