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Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Fine-Feathered Visit!

~ Yellow-crowned Night Heron * photo by Suzanne * June 5, 2017

Just when you're grumbling, and whining about cleaning up the kitchen from dinner, your mind turns to gaze through the window...and, WHAT in the world is that?  There were two odd looking birds,  standing in my back yard, seemingly watching me through the window!  Slowly, I dried my hands and whispered as I headed for my camera, "Oh my gosh, what are they?  Can I sneak out the back door to get some shots?"  Of course, one of them got spooked and flew up into a tree, while the other one decided to have a little fun with me, and stopped to observe from the soccer goal.  I got out there okay, and continued to ease up closer with each picture I took.

Later, after downloading my catch, I checked the internet to search for what I thought could be some kind of Heron, and, my suspicions were correct!  A Yellow-crowned Night Heron in MY yard?  He, or she is a long-legged, stocky bird, kind of elegant in appearance.  I mean, it has a large black head, crowned in yellow with what looks like a couple of long, white feathers draped down the back giving the appearance of an Indian headdress!  And, look at that beak!

* Here's looking at you, kid!

* photo by Suzanne

I don't know why they chose my property, but, I'm glad they did!  These Herons hang around wetlands, and feed on crustaceans and crayfish.  Well, I don't think there are any shrimp or crabs in our "Little Fossil Creek" down the street, but, I'll bet they can find some crawdads there!  They will also eat snails and earthworms...they came to the right place!  Their usual breeding habitat is along rivers and creeks, swamps and even drainage ditches in urban wooded areas!  And, I found out that both male and female are very similar in appearance, which leaves no clue as to their gender.  I'll have to assume that since there were two of them, I had one of each!  The long legs are to be a coral, pink or red color when they are courting, but the legs on this one looks a grayish color...hmmm!  It is noted that the Yellow-crowned Heron can weigh one and a half to just under two pounds, and grow to about 2'4" in height.

Both male and female work together to build their nest. They gather and carry dead tree limbs and small branches, sometimes constructing a nest that is four foot across on the ground, or in a tree.  Their nest is usually completed in about 10 days, and lined with leaves and Spanish moss, where available.

* photo by Suzanne

After gracing me with a theatrical profile, the bird stretched upward and flew off!   I hope the pair found their way back to the creek, and, perhaps one day I will venture down to the banks and search for a nest.  We're having spurts of rain off and on in Fort Worth, and, sometimes the creek is running just a bit too fast for comfort.
Here is a short video I captured of our "Little Fossil Creek" running fast after a recent rain.
~ June 24, 2017

* I hope this video plays...I had a heck of a time getting it loaded on this post!  Please accept apologies if you cannot open it.  (I will continue to work on it)

* And, just a friendly reminder to proceed with caution any time you come upon a roaring creek after a heavy rain.  This is a small creek, but you can easily be swept away by the force of the water.

I want to thank the various sites I consulted to acquire information regarding the "Yellow-crowned Night Heron."  At this time I will not list the links on my post, due to some recent problems I have had  with security.  
Thank you Wikipedia, Houston Audubon, All About Birds, and WhatBird of North America.

Thank you dear readers and bird lovers for coming by today.  I do hope you are all doing well and are enjoying your summer!  If you get the chance, please say hello!
I'm always glad to see you!  All are welcome, any time!

       *  Happy 91st Birthday to my mom!        

* photo by Suzanne

"With brave wings she flies."  ~unknown

♥ See you next time!♥