Support
Subscribe
Subscribe to BirdNote

Sign up to receive a weekly email preview of the following week's shows!

Sign Up
Support BirdNote

Help BirdNote tell more stories, reach more people, and inspire action.

DONATE

You are here

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Heron health reflects environmental health

Black-crowned Night-Herons feed primarily on fish, but they will consume everything from earthworms to clams to eggs of nesting birds and refuse at landfills! Because they are high on the food chain, found throughout much of the world, and nest in colonies, Black-crowned Night-Herons can tell us a lot about the health of our environment.


Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

The Far-flung Black-crowned Night-Heron

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

The sight of herons standing in a marsh, stabbing at prey in the shallows, is familiar in many places. But a few heron species shun the daylight to hunt their prey by night. One of these nocturnal specialists, the Black-crowned Night-Heron, is found across much of the US. [Black-crowned Night-Heron calls; http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/136200; 0.09-12]

It also inhabits all the continents except Australia and Antarctica. It’s even found in island groups as remote as Hawaii, making the Black-crowned Night-Heron the most widespread heron on earth.

Such a far-flung range suggests highly successful adaptation. Feeding at night, Black-crowned Night-Herons are freed from competing with the more numerous day-hunting herons. They are also very opportunistic feeders. While fish are often primary prey, the herons will consume everything from earthworms to clams to eggs of nesting birds and refuse at landfills. They also have a flexibly long breeding season, which may enable them to thrive across such a broad geographic range. [Black-crowned Night-Heron calls; http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/136200; 0.09-12]

Since they are high on the food chain, found over much of the world, and nest colonies, Black-crowned Night-Herons can tell us a great deal about the health — or contamination — of our environment.

Today’s show brought to you by Forterra, saving the places that are keystones of a sustainable future in the Pacific Northwest. For BirdNote, I'm Michael Stein.

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Black-crowned Night-Heron 136200 recorded by Martha J Fischer.
Riparian Zone Night Insects (Nature Sounds 120) recorded by Gordon Hempton.
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org  October 2014/2017  Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#  BCNH-01-2014-10-07    BCNH-01        

Source noting long breeding season adaptation: http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/abstracts/zoology/nycticorax_nycticorax.pdf

Sights & Sounds

LEAVE A COMMENT

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
Home
Shows
Galleries
More