OK, bird lovers, what’s going on here?

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on July 21, 2010

Two species of herons in San Francisquito Creek in Menlo Park

We were grateful last week for the many who responded to identify the new San Francisquito Creek resident as a Black-crowned Night Heron. This week presents another mystery. The creek is no longer flowing under the bridge, and the previously identified heron has now taken up residence on the west side of the bridge on top of a large pile that just might be a nest. But here’s a new development:  he/she seems to be sharing nest tending – if that indeed is what’s going on – with a Great Blue Heron (inset). This observer spent a number of minutes watching for any fractiousness or territory protecting but the two bird seems to be existing happily together. It brought memories of the story a couple of decades back about a Vermont moose that feel in love with a cow. So bird lovers, what’s the deal? Is it possible for these two different heron species to pair up?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

kristi ransom July 24, 2010 at 10:06 am

looks like a juvenile great blue heron.


Albert Chu July 25, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Checking with my bird expert friend, Margaret Leonard, (who then conferred with her bird expert), I have the following response:

“These two species don’t breed with each other. The Great Blue Heron (GBHE) was probably fishing, and the Black Crowned Night Heron (BCNH) was probably roosting. It should be done breeding, and young should be adult size now. The BCNH is a night hunter (hence the name), though it feeds young during the day in nesting season, and, as you’ve seen, the GBHE nests in the tops of large trees. Fun to see.”


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