Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-heron - Photo by Eric Nelson

Dottie Nelson discovered this heron in a ditch along Seminary Street Extension in Middlebury on 25 July 2010. The down clinging to its crown suggests it fledged quite recently, although not necessarily in Vermont. A report on the sighting of this bird is being prepared for consideration by the Vermont Bird Records Committee. If confirmed, it would be the fifth record for Vermont. The species has moved northward along the New England coast since the 1930s, but it continues to be a regular but rare breeder only as far north as the Massachusetts coast.

Immature Yellow-crowned Night-herons are not easy to distinguish from more frequently encountered Black-crowned Night-herons, which have bred in Vermont and which occur regularly in Addison County marshes, especially at Dead Creek. The thicker, all-dark bill, smaller white flecks on the back and wings, and longer, thinner neck are the best distinguishing characters.

– Warren King

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