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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.
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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)
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* 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!♥






17 comments:

  1. Hi, Suzanne!

    "Well, I'll be a blue-nosed gopher!" (As you might recall, that was an exclamation used in the serial "The Adventures of Spin and Marty" which ran within The Mickey Mouse Club television series in the mid 50s.) You were very lucky to have a couple of Yellow-crowned Night Herons land on your property and even luckier that one of the birds was brave enough to stick around and give you a photo op. You took some great pictures. They are dignified, majestic looking creatures, aren't they? Mrs. Shady and I are lucky to live next to a pond where flocks of egrets come to wade and feed and ducks paddle around all day accompanied by fish and turtles. I love to watch the wildlife. We also have those tall sand cranes that reach 3 or 4 feet in height. Those giant birds seem fearless. If provoked they honk loudly and are capable of giving man or beast a painful peck with their large beaks. With that in mind, I decided a couple of years ago to befriend a family of cranes that regularly visited my back yard bird feeding station. I slowly approached the male, female and a young crane carrying a bucket of sunflower seeds. I shook the bucket to make the seeds rattle which eased their fear and aroused their appetite. I scattered handfuls of seed upon the ground, stood within a few feet of the cranes and watched them eat. Gaining their trust and observing them up close was a wonderful experience.

    Your creek is indeed swollen. Rushing floodwater unnerves me. You gave sound advice. Too many people get their cars swamped trying to drive through deep flood water. Some become stranded while others get carried away by the swift, powerful current.

    Thank you very much for another interesting My Texas Gardens post, Suzanne. "If The Good Lord's Willing and The Creek Don't Rise" I'll be seeing you again soon (this Thursday at SDMM). That particular quote, as you might know, is the title of a song written by Jerry Reed and recorded by Johnny Cash.

    Have a terrific week ahead, dear friend Suzanne, and say hello to master Scootie for me!

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  2. Hi Shady! I did watch Spin and Marty, but unfortunately, I don't remember the "blue-nosed gopher" quote, lol! They were a couple of cute guys, and Nancy Drew was fun also!

    I was happy to see the Herons that evening, I sometimes feel left out, that the only birds I see are the yard birds! But, we've had an excess even of the yard birds this year, and, for that I am really grateful. Scootie spotted a woodpecker just a couple of days ago going after the cat food I had set out in a pan on the sidewalk-unbelievable. But, I wasn't able to get his picture! The Heron makes a honking noise also. And, I had heard them before, but didn't know what kind of creature it was until I looked it up!

    It sounds as though you have quite a menagerie at the pond next to you! I didn't know cranes could get that tall-better keep your galoshes on just in case you have to run for it, lol!

    We got a heavy rain yesterday, and a good one again this afternoon. I didn't make it down to the creek, but I bet it's running rampant now. I guess that's what brings some of the birds this way. There have been a lot of Mallard ducks at the creek also.

    I'm glad you came by today and enjoyed my latest visitor. I'll be keeping an eye out for more excitement on the hill! You know, I haven't seen any turtles in this neighborhood since I've lived here. Don't know where they hang out. Thank you Shady for your compliments and for sharing your own interest in fabulous waterbirds! Take care, dear friend-I'll be checking out SDMM in a few days! ♫

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  3. Hello, lucky you! The Yellow-crowned night herons are great sighting. It is cool you saw them in your garden. Maybe these birds are nesting and roosting by the creek. Great photos too. Happy Monday, enjoy your day and the new week ahead!

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    1. Hi Eileen! The herons were an exciting find for me, and, after another rain, my son and I spotted a few more as we crossed the bridge over the creek. I'm thinking there must be a nest or a few somewhere in the brush along the banks. Thank you for stopping by and for your great comments. Happy Monday to you, also!

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  4. Hello Suzanne, I love these photos of the Yellow Crowned Night Heron. Most likely they are nesting in the trees along the creek, sounds like the habitat that they like. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Hi Eileen, I do hope to venture back to the creek and look for any nests there might be. I'm glad I was able to link up with your Saturday critters. Thank you for coming by, and for your inspiration. Happy Sunday!

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    2. Hello Suzanne, I just wanted to thank you for all your comments on my blog. I am always checking out your blogs for a new post. In answer to you question the Oriole was on top of a very tall pine tree. Happy weekend, enjoy your day!

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  5. Yellow-crowned Night Herons! What a wonderful surprise!
    And Happy birthday to your mom
    Have a wonderful week-end!

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    1. Hi Lea, the Herons were a great surprise...the first time I have ever seen any. Thank you for stopping by and for leaving your comment and greetings to my mom! Have a very nice weekend!

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  6. Suzanne, we're both Texans I see.
    Love the Yellow C N Heron images and if you'd like, do stop by and add your link for all us birders at I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend.

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    1. Hi Anni, Thank you so much for coming by. I was pretty fascinated by these birds showing up in my back yard. Thank you for stopping by, and,inviting me to add my link to your site. Have a great week!

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  7. Wonderful captures of the herons! My, you were so lucky to get your camera before they flew off. Have a lovely week.

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    1. Hi Prunella. Welcome to MyTexasGardens! Yes, I was so lucky to get to see these lovely birds! Thank you so much for coming by to see them. Have a wonderful weekend.

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  8. Hi there Dear Suzanne, such a brilliant surprise for you through the kitchen window!! How lovely. There's always something interesting in the garden isn't there. I was fascinated to read how large their nests are, and the sturdy construction materials too.
    Thanks for the video (which played perfectly) of your Little Fossil Creek... lots of fast flowing water most certainly. I can imagine all the lovely creatures that would benefit from it being there.
    Wonderful to see your post and my apologies for not visiting sooner but we were enjoying a family visit.
    Congratulations to your Mom on her birthday - a special day.
    Cheers now and lovely to catch up :D) xx

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    1. Hi Sue. I'm kind of late getting around myself. Hope you had a wonderful family visit. My son, grandson and I got away for a few days of much needed vacation, and had a good time. We're hoping to get to Kansas to see my mom before school starts. My little grandson has yet to meet her! I was very excited to have these lovely birds visit my yard. Thank you for coming by, I enjoy seeing you. Have a wonderful weekend! ♥

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    2. I hope you get to do your trip to Kansas - it would be lovely for all of you. Hugs xx

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