Yellow-crowned Night Heron at the Golden Arches

As I may have mentioned before Ann and I quite frequently breakfast at the McDonald’s restaurant a couple blocks from our house.  Ya gotta love those ©Egg McMuffins. 🙂

Behind the parking lot a little creek meanders along, a branch of the Red Arroyo system.  We always monitor the birds and such that frequent the place.  The other morning we spotted this juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron(Nyctanassa violacea), along the bank.  You can see that it’s yellow crown hasn’t matured much yet.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

I photographed the bird from the car, using my Canon EOS 7D with a 100-400mm lens attached.  It is amazing how successful you can be if you use your car as a blind.  If I would have got out, I am sure I would have spooked him, and he would have flew off.  When I absolutely have no choice, and have to get out to get a shot, I try to keep the car between me and the bird, maybe shoot over the roof, or lean over the hood, etc.  For these shots, I was only about about 40 feet away.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

The less stress you put on your birds, the better and more natural image you can obtain.  Click on either image to see an enlargement.  Happy Shooting!!


28 thoughts on “Yellow-crowned Night Heron at the Golden Arches

  1. Imagine my surprise, Bob, when I look in my field guides – these guys live along the Atlantic coast, along the Gulf of Mexico, near the Mississippi River, and… southeastern Michigan. Also, the coloring on this one is utterly fantastic relative to what my books would indicate.

    • Thanks for the interesting comment, Sid. I appreciate it. They are bluish gray in color. This bird was in a shaded area and I think the light brought out the blue. I did not enhance the color in any way.

  2. Ahhh, a McHeron. I love the way you always seem to have your gear with you wherever you go Bob. Do you worry about it while you’re inside eating or do you go through the drive-thru? I’m paranoid about stuff like that. I really like the colors of the bird against the red mud in both images.

    • Cute, Ron, Cute. Seriously, I ALWAYS have my gear with me. It is stowed safely behind my drivers seat. I never park the car where I can’t see it. Dark windows on the car help, too. Many thanks for the comments on my photo.

  3. Once again, I have the pleasure of seeing a bird I would never hope to encounter around here… in it’s natural surroundings…captured in images that reflect the true nature of the bird. I am in your debt. Marvelous photos.

  4. In Fort Worth, there is a stabilizing group of what I believe are black-crowned night herons that have taken up seasonal nesting in the tall trees above Sylvania Park, on the east side of the park, in huge nests about 60 feet up. They are only there for about 2-3 months, perhaps March through May? Sometimes 6-10 nests, barely visible, unless you know to look for them. You see them flying about, through the park, and the fledglings testing their wings. I have, in my cell phone, a couple of pictures of an adolescent that landed and rested on my granddaughter’s trampoline in their back yard a few blocks away. It stayed there for over an hour, and my daughter-in-law took several pictures. If you gave me a cell number, I would forward it to you. It’s a beautiful picture.

  5. The “wearing a blind” approach is great for birds. They don’t seem to get that it’s a human inside of something (didn’t the natives of America first think that the horse-and-man was a single animal?). When I mow the grass on the tractor-mower, the herons and other birds come very close to me to eat up bugs exposed in the grass behind me. I can usually just sit and watch 5 feet from them as they “hunt” my grounds. A mockingbird nearly landed on my shoulder one time.

    I should totally bring my camera!! If only I could keep it clean somehow…

    • You are sooooo right in what you say, Shannon. It’s especially amazing what can happen when birds get adapted to seeing you near and are not afraid. Good luck on keeping your lens clean. I guess you could hang your camera around your neck, under a light vest ,etc., then pop it out at the right moment. 🙂

  6. Wow Bob, how lucky to get these shots along with a meal. Lovely colours and so rewarding to see photos of the young ones.

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