This weekend Ingrid and I went to visit my sister Ellen and her husband Carlo at their University Park, Maryland home . . . just outside of Washington DC. They live in a charming suburban neighborhood about at mile from the University of Maryland. The homes are mostly brick, the streets treelined and kids sell lemonade on the street corner.
It is also home of a rare Yellow-crowned Night Heron Urban Rookery.
The Yellow-crowned Night Heron is a stocky bird with a comical yellow and black face. If feeds primarily on cray fish and breeds in the south-east United States and winters in South America.
Normally, Yellow-crowned Night-Herons nest near or over water in trees up to 60 feet off the ground.
But for some reason, in University Park they nest in oak trees branches that hang over the residential streets. While we visited, Ellen showed me five nest and I counted seven birds within a short distance of their home (we were walking their dog).
A Google search showed another urban rookery in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
It was amazing to see the Herons perched 20 feet over my head . . . while standing next to a lemonade and brownie stand manned by neighborhood 4th graders.