While visiting the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma last week, I was fortunate to capture an intimate portrait of the striking Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. As a wildlife photographer, I relish opportunities to photograph these elegant yet elusive wading birds in their natural habitats.
The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron is a medium-sized heron that inhabits wetlands and waterways throughout Oklahoma. While they can be found year-round in the southern part of the state, they are migratory in this part of Oklahoma and primarily summer here to breed.
These secretive birds nest in colonies called heronries, often alongside other heron species. One of the largest Yellow-crowned Night-Heron colonies in Oklahoma is located at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton. Estimates suggest this heronry supports over 500 nesting pairs each summer.
Yellow-crowned Night-Herons in Oklahoma thrive in habitats like swamps, marshes, lakes, rivers, and wooded streams. They forage primarily at night or at dusk, using their large eyes to hunt for fish, crustaceans, frogs, insects, and small rodents. Their diet adapts depending on habitat and prey availability.
While fairly common, these herons are elusive and prefer to remain hidden in dense vegetation during the day. Patience is required to spot one, making this photographs from the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge even more special. Their camouflage plumage helps them blend into marsh grasses and tree canopies.
Seeing a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron up close is a memorable experience for any birdwatcher or photographer in Oklahoma. Their unique beauty makes them a highly sought after species.
Capturing striking portraits like this one is a thrill and reminds me why I’m so passionate about wildlife photography. I feel honored to witness such beauty in nature and hope images like this inspire others to appreciate and protect precious species like the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes looks at my wildlife photography adventures!
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: Canon RF 800 mm F11
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
- Date and Time Taken: July 24, 2022 (09:04 A. M.)
- Exposure Mode: Manual
- Aperture: f11
- Shutter speed: 1/1250
- ISO: 1250 (Auto)
- Exp. Comp.: -0.3
- Focal Length: 800 mm