Nycticorax nycticorax is more commonly known as the Black Crowned Night Heron. Black Crowned Night Herons make their summer homes in Frederick (and other areas in North America) to breed, and then travel back down south to Mexico and Central America during their non-breeding season. As their name suggests, they are much more active at night, but during breeding season they must spend as much time hunting as possible, so they can be seen fishing in the lake by day as well. Since the herons nest together as a group, they also take care of one another’s offspring. It’s not uncommon for juveniles to be taken care of by any bird in the nesting area.
See them for yourselves! They’re currently building nests in the trees on the northwest corner of the lake, by the baseball fields. The adults are mainly a gray and white with a black crown and back. They have red eyes and a thin white feather at the nape of their necks. Make sure you’re on the watch for juveniles at the beginning of summer as well. Each female will have 3-5 in a clutch. The juveniles will be light brown in color with white spots and yellow eyes. Make a trip down to Culler Lake before they head down south for winter!