A Quiz: An Answer

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Black-crowned Night-Heron

This stunningly beautiful black-crowned night-heron was hunting one of the ponds in Tucson’s Reid Park last week. It was peacefully minding its own piscivorous business until a young human couple approached.

The night-herons here are used to disturbance, and this one stood his stolid ground even as the young park-goers came closer and closer. Finally they were within touching distance, and the man of the couple couldn’t resist showing off to his girlfriend with a series of mock charges at the bird, which simply looked up before turning its gaze back to the possibility of prey.

As I walked past, the couple were still just a foot away from the bird. Just a little bit peeved that they had seen fit to harass the creature (not that it cared at all), I couldn’t resist:

“They’re really tame, aren’t they? But be careful — that bill can go right through your shin.”

The young woman blanched and tugged at her boyfriend’s arm. Last I saw, they were slowly, slowly backing away from the pond and the terrifying heron.