Night Heron (Juvenile) and the Concept of Home

heron_1335c 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.)


  1. Home? Dfficult one. I’d like to say wherever I am in the world where I feel happy and accepted. But sometimes, it seems important to be somewhere where most people share a common culture and understanding – sang the same songs as children, read the same books, understood the same jokes. I loved living in France, but in the end, missed not sharing the local culture at a deeper level.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Margaret.
      It is indeed not an easy question. Though one can feel comfortable in an “adopted” land, the culture can have its nuances that takes years to internalize. There is always that element of “who you are” vs “where you are.”

      Liked by 2 people

    • This is an interesting thought, Tom.
      Maybe it is possible to have more than one “home.”
      And one can long for one while living in another. That would make anyone travel far, just like these birds do.
      Thank you for your comment.


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