October 10, 2017
Yellow-crowned Night Herons (Baby Dinosaurs) in My Backyard
- as seen by -George Amato
I was excited when I saw the pair of yellow-crowned night herons return to nest this spring in the large tree behind my house where they fledged a single chick last year. After watching them build a very shaky looking nest of sticks, it became difficult to observe them as the leaves filled in and blocked my view. They are remarkably silent flyers – and I felt lucky to catch glimpses of them winging in during the summer, obviously bringing food from the nearby salt marshes to their chicks.
On an unusually cool morning for the first week in August, I was startled to find the five fledglings down in the yard casually warming themselves in the sun. They seemed so relaxed – much more curious then alarmed – as I slowly approached them.
For many years, paleontologists have highlighted that birds are the direct descendants of dinosaurs. It was a wonderful wildlife moment to share this beautiful morning with the “baby dinosaurs” in my own backyard.