There is a small colony of Black-crowned Night Herons living, by choice, and appropriately, in the Florida Wetlands section of the Palm Beach Zoo. (MAP)
There were a number of nests in the treetops. We noticed because they were squawking overhead.
A juvenile stands around.
Black-crowned Night-Herons are stocky birds compared to many of their long-limbed heron relatives. They’re most active at night or at dusk, when you may see their ghostly forms flapping out from daytime roosts to forage in wetlands. In the light of day adults are striking in gray-and-black plumage and long white head plumes. These social birds breed in colonies of stick nests usually built over water. They live in fresh, salt, and brackish wetlands and are the most widespread heron in the world.
And my photo life list bird #175.
Adults are pretty distinctive, particularly on the tops of their heads, or “crowns”… but spotted brown juvenile Yellow-crowned and Black-crowned Night Herons are easy to confuse. The yellow on the bill is an identifying feature, according to Nicholas Lund writing The Birdist’s Rules of Birding #115: Learn to Identify and Differentiate Night Herons.
Another big clue: adult Black-crowned in the trees above this juvenile!
Night heron and turtle gaze deeply into one another’s souls… wondering the eternal questions of the animal kingdom, “Can I eat it?” and “Is it going to eat me?”