Juvenile Black-Crowned Night-Heron

I don’t consider myself a great birder, but I’ve birded long enough that I usually know when I see a bird that I’ve never seen before. So, when this bird flew past and landed

juvenile Black-Crowned Night-Heron

just a short ways away from me, I was sure it was a new bird for me. I was still convinced when I managed to get this shot

juvenile Black-Crowned Night-Heron

a little later. In fact, it wasn’t until another birder identified it that I realized it wasn’t a new species at all. In fact, I could even begin to see that it did resemble

Black-Crowned Night-Heron

the Black-Crowned Night-Heron that I shot in Santa Rosa a year ago, though I still find the difference rather shocking. It probably didn’t help that I had never seen one fly before since the two I saw in Santa Rosa sat frozen the whole time I was there.

The coloring of the juvenile provides much better camouflage than that of the adult which would make it safer for the young bird and easier to survive predation, but I have to wonder why it ever changes color,

Black-Crowned Night-Heron

particularly since it’s quite similar in color to an American Bittern.

What do you think?