This young bird must have flown from far away. Night herons don’t get their more colorful plumage until they are three years old. Their lifespan is 10-15 years, and every winter they travel from Europe to the tropics (eg, Southern Asia) and then back north in the spring.
One theory on bird migration believes that birds originated in the warmer climates and moved north during summer where longer days provided more food. Over thousands of years and several generations, they eventually adopted the north as their breeding grounds.
So when they fly south in the winter are they coming home? Or is the north now their home and the trip south is just a visit to their place of origin?
I can’t help but ask the same question about people. To those who have moved away from the place where they were born — and their descendants — where is home?
(Note: Can’t tell if it is a black-crowned night heron or a yellow-crowned one.)