Social Foraging and Feeding Environment of the Black-crowned Night Heron in an Industrialized Estuary

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Abstract:

A nesting colony of more than 300 pairs of Black-crowned Night-Herons in the Patapsco River estuary, Baltimore Harbor, Maryland was monitored from May to July 1988. The departure direction and departure time of each Heron was recorded during morning and evening observations at the colony. In addition, individual Herons were followed to landing sites in the estuary with small boats and aircraft. Herons appear to be quite social in foraging and may concentrate their feeding in some of the most industrialized parts of the estuary. Night-Herons may prosper in urban environments because some of their prey are attracted to intense shoreline illumination at night. New quantitative methods were developed to cope with the lack of statistical independence when dealing with social species.

Keywords: BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS; DIRECTIONAL INDEPENDENCE; NESTING COLONY; SOCIAL FORAGING

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/015613890791749037

Publication date: December 1, 1990

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  • Bird Behavior is an international and interdisciplinary journal that publishes high-quality, original research on descriptive and experimental analyses of species-typical avian behavior, including the areas of ethology, behavioral ecology, comparative psychology, and behavioral neuroscience.
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