Same Bird?

I saw a Black-crowned Night Heron on the southwest corner of the North Basin (directly opposite the hotel) on April 12.  More than two weeks later, on April 30, I again saw a Black-crowned Night Heron in the same spot at about the same time of the afternoon.  But was it the same bird?  Because it’s unusual, in my experience, to see this kind of bird there, I assumed it was the same individual.  But on taking a closer look at the photos a week later, I’m not so sure.

April 12 bird on the left, April 30 bird on the right

Top row:  The bird on the left looks chubbier. That could just be a temporary thing, depending on when it had its last meal.  The colors are also a bit off, but that could be the light and the camera setting.

Second row: The dark crown on the left side bird has an almost flat border ending about halfway up the circle of the eye.  The right side bird’s crown arches steeply and slides a bit below the eye.

Bottom row:  The bird on the left has a shorter ponytail than the bird on the right.

My conclusion:  These are probably two different individuals.  But why would two different birds of the same species come to the same spot on different days, each by itself?  Why don’t they come together?  Mysterious are the ways of birds.

I did get one other bit of information, for what it’s worth.  I saw what I think was the April 30 bird flying in from the north.  It made some slow circles as if checking out the water surface but then eventually headed for the southwest corner of the North Basin, where I photographed it.  Later I saw the same bird flying north again and settling for a rest on the rocks outside the Open Circle area in the northeast corner of the park.  I didn’t see where it went after that.

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