Floating Wetland Update: Night Heron

A black-crowned night heron has inhabited our floating wetland prototype in the Inner Harbor!

Published October 04, 2018

A new bird, which our team of experts have identified as a juvenile black-crowned night heron, has taken residence on our floating wetland prototype.

Black-crowned night heron on the floating wetland prototype

We know it is a juvenile because of its tawny brown coloration with white stripes, which differs from the appearance of adults. By the time the juvenile turns one year old, it will start to develop the “black-crowned” coloration in this bird’s namesake. Though this species closely resembles the yellow-crowned night heron, our team confirmed this was a black-crowned night heron based on its thicker bill and longer white stripe on its body.

Our team first observed the night heron fishing on the prototype on September 12 and it has been observed fishing in the same spot every day since! The night heron has been observed catching and feeding on Atlantic silversides, which gather in schools near the surface on the edge of the prototype. The heron is also likely preying on three killifish species that have inhabited the prototype, according to our experts.

Black-crowned night heron on the floating wetland prototype

This is not the first time we have had a black-crowned night heron on our floating wetland prototype! Shortly after the prototype was installed and planted in August 2017, the first night heron visitor was spotted. This night heron fished daily for several weeks on the prototype as well.

Our floating wetland prototype is the perfect place for the night heron because it creates a microhabitat and spawning habitat for small fish that it preys upon. The reintroduction of natural habitat to the Inner Harbor through the prototype—and our future Waterfront Campus—will not only bring native species such as the night heron back to Baltimore, but also connect residents and visitors with the natural world.

Stay tuned for more updates!

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