A rather stocky wading bird, the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron flies with long, slow purposeful wing beats. It can be found gliding over water with its legs extended straight below the tail, unlike the Black-crowned Night-Heron, whose legs can barely be seen in flight. It’s also more solitary and secretive than the Black-crowned Night-Heron.
They forage by walking slowly on land or in shallow water, or standing still waiting for prey to approach. They feed on crabs, crawfish, and other crustaceans.
In the spring, they can be seen building nests in Oak trees in Galveston’s East End neighborhoods.
Kristine Rivers elaborates on the subject:
“This species has adapted quite well to living near people, so this is not an uncommon behavior in areas that have the resources they need for nesting: large trees near water. Initially males can be seen bringing sticks to females to begin building the nest, and both will participate in finishing it, strengthening the pair bond. The completed structure may be as large as four feet across, and the female will lay 2-6 eggs.”
“It will take almost a month after the female lays the eggs for them to hatch, so you’ve got some time to go check out nest-building and young-rearing activities. Please be sure to keep a respectful distance and stay as quiet as possible so as not to disturb the parents and neighboring homes.”
Yet another reason to bird Galveston in the spring!