For every year since we moved into our old rock house and since our welcoming neighbor, Ed told us of the returning yellow crested night herons, we have seen them come back right around April Fool's Day. They were nesting in a large tree across from Ed's house, then moved up the street to one in our front yard, and on to our neighbor's across the street where they complained of droppings around their mailbox. The next year they traveled to property behind us, and then this spring decided to build in our northern neighbor's tree that extended it's branch over our garage. That made it extremely convenient to watch from our deck as they constructed the home of their offspring. We watched as the pair of adults made numerous trips from their homesite into the surrounding trees to break off twigs to assemble the aerie. Many trips were made back to the location where they would then drop their prize without retrieval. They would instead fly back off to grab another branch. It was a tedious, long process, but they eventually had their shelter completed. Some time passed and we noticed broken shells had fallen behind our garage, so we knew the babies had arrived. We began to hear quiet chirping coming from the interior of the nest, then little faces with tousled feathered heads peered over the edge. Feathers filled out and they began to explore the surrounding branches and stretch their wings. They somehow made it to the ground and spent time exploring their surroundings. They were always back in the nest by time for their late afternoon feedings however. They would wait anxiously as the grownups flew in with their catch of the day. The hatchlings are most grown now, and will soon make the return trip south, but we have thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle of Yellow Crowned Night Herons raising their young in our canopy.
Keywords:Crowned, Herons, Herons, Night, Yellow, birds
© Jim Mayfield Photography