Friday, November 11, 2011


I'd like to say that getting excited over a bird is a good thing, but actually I think it more accurately indicates that Jerry and I are old codgers who birdwatch and that it doesn't take much to excite us any more. Nevertheless, today I report on a new "happening." Jer actually missed out on it because he has an uncanny ability to fall asleep while his head is moving toward his pillow, and he didn't take the second look out the window that I did, right after lights out.

Every year about this time a lone black-crowned night heron shows up on our front lawn. We do not live anywhere near water. There is a river bed about 6 miles to the south of us but certainly nothing like a lake or a pond or a stream that one would ordinarily think of as a place where water birds might hang out. We have tried to figure out just what it is that draws "our" night heron back to the lawn year after year and we really don't know. Worms? Slugs? Dog poop? (the later being in abundance from all the jerks who walk their dogs across the lawn and don't clean up after them.

This heron shows up any time between 8 and 9 p.m. There are still people out walking their dogs at that time and the heron will fly off as they come near, but he (or she) returns once the danger is past and continues feeding. Before we turn the lights out at bedtime we always check at the window to make sure he is there. He almost always is.

I've tried to take his picture before with my little digital camera but lacking a long lens and infra-red shooting capabilities, all I've ever managed to capture is two glinty eyes in the distance. That makes for a funny picture but it sure doesn't show him off.

Although the night heron is what I think of as a "harumph" bird, sitting all hunched over with no visible neck and looking really bored with it all, this bird actually has quite a decent neck which sometimes we can see if a car's headlights happen to catch him in the process of snagging a morsel a few feet from where he is standing. He also has a huge wing span for his size and certainly looks much bigger in the air than he does on the ground. The bird book says (yes, we have one of those too) he roosts in trees during the day.

But here is why last night was so exciting: there were TWO of them on the lawn! And they either were having an argument or were twitterpating (or trying to twitterpate.) In the five winters we've lived here, there has never been more than one on our lawn. Whether it is the same bird night after night I can't say, because one dark blob on the lawn looks like another. But for sure now we know that there are at least two that hang around.

After seeing the TWO last night it was hard for me to drop off to sleep. It was exciting, but I had no one to share it with. Jer's snoring indicated that he was beyond getting excited over anything. So you lucky readers are the ones who get to hear my exciting news.

WE HAVE TWO HERONS! (and maybe will have more if they were, in fact, twitterpating!)

1 comment:

Olga said...

I saw some black headed herons on the beach for the first time this past September.