I've always been intrigued by the black-crowned night herons. At first I couldn't figure out where the black crown was — their heads have always looked blue to me. Maybe I just never see them with black crowns, or maybe whoever named them was missing a couple of color cones. Anyway, I think of them as the patriotic birds, with their blue and white feathers, and those red, red eyes.
We've had several of these herons at the 59th Street Pond recently. At least one of them flies over to the spot where I'm feeding the ducks and waits for the fish to show up. I haven't seen a heron catch a fish using this method, but as my video shows, I have seen them catch very big fish, and gobble them right now. The Filming the Feathers film includes sightings on June 23, 24, 28, 30, July 1, 3 and 5, and is set to a wind octet by Beethoven.
It's really nice when the black-crowns come so close, since the head shots are delightful. I also love trying to spot them in the trees.
I understand these guys eat rats, too. I'm all for that! To see more heron photos, visit the black-crowned night heron page.