In April of this year, I had the crazy idea of submitting this article to 10,000 Birds for their consideration. Since I will still be enjoying my last couple of days in Spain on this week’s deadline, I thought it might be the moment to share it with all of you. I’ll post more recent material next week!

In spite of being cosmopolitan birds, found on seven of the nine continents, Black-crowned Night Herons are pretty special birds. How do they manage to look so handsome, and yet so awkward, at the same time? This one, seen at Lake Cuitzeo in central Mexico, makes me think of a giraffe wearing a tuxedo:

Now, most of the time this middling photographer can only hope to get a clear photo of a bird, not too far away, and at a good angle. But every once in a while, the birds actually do something that tells a story. This is exciting, because you can’t talk wild birds into following a script.

So it was pretty cool to have the above Night Heron pose so nicely. But it was way cooler when three adults, for some reason, all decided they had to land on the very same stick. It didn’t look like that special of a stick to me, but then, I’m not a Night Heron.

No, these are not time-lapse photographs. Three birds, in real time.

One heron had the good sense to abandon his quest quickly. Another refused to give up, which led to a bit of a tussle. That must be a primo stick!

Finally, the late-comer decided to let the stick’s rightful owner take his place. And balance was returned to the universe.

May we each find our own special stick.

Written by Paul Lewis
Paul Lewis moved from California to Mexico in 1983. He lived first in Mexicali, and now lives in the historic city of Morelia (about halfway between Guadalajara and Mexico City), where he and his wife pastor a small church. He is the author of an internationally distributed book in Spanish about family finances and has recorded four albums in Spanish of his own songs. But every Monday, he explores the wonderful habitats and birds found within an hour of his house, in sites which go from 3,000 to 10,000 feet of altitude. These habitats include freshwater wetlands, savannah grasslands, and pine, oak, pine/oak, pine/fir, cloud, and tropical scrub forests.