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Strange Bird
updated: Dec 27, 2012, 9:03 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

We were down at the harbor today and saw this bird on the rocks. Anyone know what kind of bird it is? Had a penguin-like body, chicken feet, long pointy beak and some whispy feathers on it's back.

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 357564P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-27 09:09 AM

It's an adult Black-crowned Night Heron.


 COMMENT 357568 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-27 09:24 AM

Ditto. Aren't they cool looking?


 BJGREEN agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-27 09:36 AM

These birds are sometimes mistaken for penguins!


 COMMENT 357573 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-27 09:57 AM

It's stranger when you see these birds in the trees around the harbor. Man they can make a mess on your car!!!


 COMMENT 357586 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-27 10:47 AM

Go check out the trees along Cabrillo Blvd near Los BaƱos or the shrubs along the east side of the launch ramp parking lot -- look for the bird poop on the ground, then look up to see the birds hanging out above. Lots of night herons in those locations.


 COMMENT 357589 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-27 11:05 AM

If you're going to be looking up, might want to be wearing goggles ;-)

We helped rescue a fledgling a couple of weeks ago, S/he was standing next to the wading pool fence by the walkway, nervously pacing back and forth. SB Wildlife Care Network took care of it.


 COMMENT 357596 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-27 11:24 AM

OP here... thanks for the info! I have lived here my entire life and have never seen a bird like this. I need to get out more... I'll make sure to wear goggles when I look up :)


 COMMENT 357600P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-27 11:46 AM

357596 - probably because they mostly sleep during the day. They can also be seen perched in the bushes along the edge of Goleta Slough parking lot during the day.


 BJGREEN agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-27 12:23 PM

Patrick - it's not bird poop on the ground, it's art! :)


 AUNTIE S. agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-27 06:43 PM

I swear I thought you were making this up at first. Seen pictures of them standing in the water but never like this. I was going to guess it was post-Christmas D.T.s


 COMMENT 357726 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-27 08:30 PM

The angle of the photo distorts the look of the bird if you are unfamiliar with them. We have one of the few areas where this species breeds. The young are brown and streaked - different plumage, but same basic silhouette. These birds eat, fish, frogs, mice, etc, and make a characteristic "quok!" vocalization.


 COMMENT 357744P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-28 03:42 AM

Best time to see them in flight (and hear their strange guttural squawk) is just on sunset. Then you will see them flying fairly low, above the sandspit.

Last time I saw those trees near the kiddie pool, on Cabrillo, the City had butchered the crap out of them. I figured the hotel management (across the street) might have complained the bird noise (and poop smell) was hurting business.

I felt kind of miffed. I like those birds being there, mess and all. Anyone know if the trees have already grown back enough for the herons?


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-28 03:04 PM

Why "assume" it was the hotel's fault (could have been, but you really have no idea). Crazy when people make up stories to go with a comment.


 COMMENT 357986P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-28 08:42 PM

744P: Yes, the ficus canopies have grown back. I appreciate what you say about appreciating the herons there. One major downside is that with so many birds and nests there, there are a lot of babies that fall to the ground and get injured or killed, especially when it's windy. Others can't fly and go out into the street.... Some of us who rescue the little herons wish that the trees were trimmed (not butchered) so that some of the parents would nest in safer places and so many birds would not fall.


 COMMENT 357999 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-28 08:59 PM

Heron poop is the WORST.


 COMMENT 358381P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-29 10:55 PM

999: Try duck poop- it's frequent and literally stinks. Heron poop is nothing compared with ducks'.


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