Friday, May 14, 2010

An evening wonder - Night Heron!

As a little boy
I was shown some flying birds that flew past on the sky at dusk. (By doing this my sisters were clever in diverting my attention while they were on babysitting duty!). Those birds make sounds all through such flights as 'qwakgaa, qwakgaa'! I know now what is this bird, that made me curious and wondering, and also introduced me to the hobby, Bird-watching!
It is the Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax, Black-crowned Night Heron, 'Vakkah' in Tamil). It flies in groups at dusk to feeding grounds to catch their prey - at night. They have nocturnal feeding habits. They are short-necked and short-legged birds. Their crown and back are black, underparts white and wings gray. Near the water edge of the ponds they stand still to catch the prey by ambush. They prey upon fish, frog and insects. Before dawn they start and return to their nests, built on trees or reeds, to rest during the daytime. The nests are in isolated locations free from their predators. Eggs that are laid hatch into birds that are brown with flecks.
This wonder bird , the Night Heron is still mesmerizing me even today carrying me to my childhood by their calls that I alert every child to watch them whenever they fly past!

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