A tree not far from the park entrance is the habitual perch of this Black-crowned Night Heron, seen here preening. Photographer David Hauer captured this image at a moment when the bird emerged from its dense cover of foliage to take some sun while attending to the serious business of feather maintenance. It’s standing on one leg, with the other leg tucked inside its breast feathers and visible here as if it were a belly-button. (Of course birds, not being mammals, don’t have such things.) Another view lies below. The Latin name means “crow of the night,” probably because of the bird’s unmelodious voice. As the name also implies, this bird mostly hunts in twilight and at night, a time when other local herons and egrets are not competing. For more background on these birds, check out Wikipedia and Audubon and Cornell.
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