[Tweeters] Detroit Area Birding Part 3, Blk Crwn Night Herons

Mark Vernon ma_vern at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 8 15:21:52 PDT 2010

On May 24th I visited the Detroit Zoo, in Royal Oak, Oakland Co., Michigan. Zoos are often good places to look for wildlife and there were some surprises waiting for me here.
A docent told me that Black-crowned Night Herons were nesting near the Arctic exhibit. She said the birds were kind of a problem because they took food from the exhibit. I could hardly wait to find them. I saw Herons flying in and out of the zoo. The ones flying in carried twigs in their beaks. I actually found their rookery on the edge of the African exhibits, where it borders the Arctic. If you look near the Ostriche enclosure you will find the Heron nests in the trees. I found I could get very close. I took a not very good photo of one above my head. It was clipping twigs for it's nest. It sound like a very strong beak...crack!
I found two Wood Duck mothers with ducklings in the ponds. Double-crested Cormorants were resting in the main pond. Turkey Vultures had landed near the compound containing the Old World Vultures. The New Worlders had found something to eat. Killdeers were running around several of the exhibits. Vireos were overhead and I got excellent views of Red-eyed Vireos.
Common birds were House Sparrows, Starlings, Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds, Mallards, Barn Swallows and Common Grackles. Ring-billed Gulls dominated the Arctic exhibit and they looked natural all lined up on the faux icebergs. The Red-winged Blackbirds seemed extra territorial near the Kangaroo walk, where you can walk near several varieties of Kangaroos including the big red ones.
And yes...there were Chimney Swifts! 

Mark Vernon
Renton, WA
mailto ma_vern at yahoo.com

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