Two Night-Heron species in Parsippany, Sep. 11, 2013

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron
Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron, Parsippany, NJ, Sep. 11, 2013
(photo by Julie Buechner).

The first documented report in 84 years of both Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night-Herons appearing in the same place, practically in the same tree, in Morris County occurred today. Julie Buechner found the juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (YCNH) on September 9. Today, she relocated the YCNH and found a juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron, as well. Both Night-Herons can be difficult to spot. A few birders missed them yesterday and today.

In the October, 1929 issue of The Auk (Vol. 46, No. 4, October 1929, pp. 537-538.), Lester L. Walsh of Ridgewood, NJ, describes two separate occasions of viewing a Yellow-crowned Night Heron associating with Black-crowned Night-Herons in, what he calls, the Troy Meadows Swamp. One was an adult seen on June 16, 1929; the other, an immature, on August 5, 1929. To quote Mr. Walsh as he comments on immature Night-Heron field identification of his time: “In this connection it is interesting to mention that several authors have commented on the impossibility of satisfactory field identification of immature birds of these two species. It is my experience, however, that either awing or at rest there are sufficient differences to enable one to make reasonably long range identification with certainty.”

[Editor’s note: I did a double-take when seeing the word “awing” in L.L Walsh’s account. Inspiring awe is the contemporary definition. Of course, Walsh used it in the context of “in flight”. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary of 1913 defines awing as an adverb meaning “On the wing; flying; fluttering.”]

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