Rock Steady

This bird held so still that at first I mistook it for a stone. The Black-crowned Night Heron easily outdoes other herons and egrets in the art of freezing in a pose. The one-minute video above is edited down from more than ten minutes during most of which the bird showed no movement at all. Just the slightest nod of the head counts as “action.”

Although the bird typically is active at twilight and at night, as its name implies, it’s not unusual to see it around the park during daylight hours. Check out previous posts on this blog.

Note that when the night heron gives up waiting for something edible to swim under its beak, it can change positions quickly and adroitly.

In the last few seconds of the video, check out how the bird can telescope its neck. It doesn’t fold its neck the way that the Great Blue Heron or the egrets do. It just sort of draws it in and pushes it out. Must have an interesting bone structure in the neck. Others have noted the bird’s ability to go from an appearance of no neck at all to an extended neck, but I’ve been unable to find any source about the anatomy that makes this feature possible.

A few days later, photographer David Hauer saw this or a similar individual, and captured this wonderful mirror image photograph of the heron dipping its beak in water:

Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) Photo by David Hauer

I saw this bird (or its twin) again a bit later and snapped this close-up:

Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

More on Wikipedia Audubon Cornell

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