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Happy Earth Day And YES They Are Back!
April 22, 2011, 12:02 am
Filed under: News | Tags: ,

Happy Earth Day 2011 Baltimore

Yellow-crowned Night Herons return to the Jones Falls.

Something was clearly afoot (or should we say aflight) when last week numerous hits to Baltidome were the result of a search for “Baltimore Night Herons”.  Sure enough, a trip to the west entrance of Druid Hill Park will reveal that a brood of Yellow-crowned Night Herons has indeed returned to their favorite nesting spot in the trees above the Jones Falls.

If you are interested in doing a little Baltimore birdwatching, there will be a good bit of avian theater at this location for the next couple of months  -and no visual enhancement device needed!  These birds are so conspicuous, you can’t miss them.

According to the Atlas of the breeding birds of Maryland and the District of Columbia, the Yellow-crowned Night Heron is “the rarest colonial nesting heron in Maryland” and are generally found in swamps along the coastline.  As “colonial nesters”, they tend to nest in groups with other birds of the same species and so where you see one nest, there are likely to be more close by.  Another unique trait of the Yellow-crowned Night Heron is that both male and female are nearly indistinguishable from one another and both take equal part in building their nests, incubating the eggs and feeding their young.

Apparently this location, where they have returned for at least the last three years, is a hot piece of real estate for these waterbirds.  Last year there were three couples.  This year there are five.

For last year’s posts and pictures on the Night Herons, click on the titles below:

Night Heron Mania Comes To An End
Happy Earth Day Baltimore



Happy Earth Day Baltimore

Happy Earth Day Baltimore

In celebration of Earth Day, Baltidome would like to share with you some images of Yellow-crowned Night Herons, a group of which are currently nesting along the Jones Falls Trail in downtown Baltimore.

The Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) is a night-feeding heron, generally found in swamps along the coastline.  They tend to nest in groups and both male and female build their nests, incubate the eggs and feed their young.

According to the Atlas of the breeding birds of Maryland and the District of Columbia, the Yellow-crowned Night Heron is “the rarest colonial nesting heron in Maryland. It is locally common in the lower part of the Chesapeake Bay and rare in the rest of the state”.  The surge in coastal development in the last century has forced the Yellow-crowned Night Herons into urban and residential areas and in close proximity to humans.  The existence of these birds in our city should be a reminder of how finite our natural resources truly are.