June 5, 2015
Georgia On My Mind
- as seen by -Harry D. Selsor
The yellow-crowned night heron named George, along with his mate, Georgia, have returned for the season to the Broward River in Jacksonville, Florida. George (above) and Georgia have been annual visitors to my dock there for years. This is the first time I have been able to capture their courtship behavior.
Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology notes that courting yellow-crowned night heron pairs make a neck-stretching display, slowly raising, and then quickly pushing their heads back between their shoulders while fanning their long shoulder plumes. Males show off first, and females sometimes follow.
The pale yellow crown and a white stripe by the eye amidst black head feathers are distinctive head markings on this night heron. During breeding season, a long white plume develops on the top of its head.
Yellow-crowned night herons live in wetlands and feed on crustaceans along tidal marshes. On the Broward River, they enjoy blue and fiddler crabs. The herons shake the crab claws off, and swallow them whole.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This photo was selected by our readers as the winner from many great shots submitted for our bird assignment. Submit your photos for our current assignment, Wildlife in Your Everyday Life.
Canon 7D MK II