Yellow-crowned Night Heron

File May 25, 3 20 34 PM

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while.  It has been super busy at work and I haven’t had much time.  Luckily my job allows me to further educate myself about nature and get great pictures.  My wonderful wife got me a Nikon D3300 camera with at 55-200 mm lens package.  This now allows me to take far better pictures share with you.

This Picture I took was of a Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea).  I took it as I was guiding a tour on Shem Creek around Charleston, South Carolina. These birds live mostly in the Southeastern United States, but can be seen as far north as Ontario and as far east as Michigan.  They feed mostly on marine crustaceans like crabs, but will also feed on crayfish in their inland habitats.  They forage both day and night, and along the coast they forage mostly during low tide.  They catch their prey by ambushing them with their beaks, where they violently shake the crustacean apart so they can swallow the individual pieces whole.  They have also been known to impale their prey with their beaks to make them easier to deal with.

Yellow-crowned Night Herons breed around wetlands adjacent to water bodies.  They build small platform nests in trees above or adjacent to the water.  They can nest in trees as high as 60 feet above the water, or as low as a few feet off the water.  Both the male and female build the nests and they usually construct them out of dead twigs they break off of standing vegetation.  Around the coast their breeding time correlates to when the crabs emerge in the Spring.

DSC_0374!
Yellow-crowned Night Heron Nest. Taken on Wambaw Creek in McClellanville, SC

The Population of Yellow-crowned Night Herons are classified as Least Concern.  This means that their population has stayed stable over the past decades.  However, destruction of wetland habitats has caused local decline in some populations and is threat to these organisms.  The oldest recovered fossil of the Yellow-crowned Night Heron is 2-2.6 million years old (found in Sarasota, FL) and we want to keep them around for millions more to come!!

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