Every spring, about 100 black-crowned night herons show up at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo to breed. Although the night herons have been nesting here since before the National Zoo was established (check out a video about it), SCBI scientists do not know where these birds spend the winter. Until now!
Real-time tracking is not yet live, but will be soon! When it is, the maps will look like this:
Soon, you'll be able to track black-crowned night herons online and in an “Animal Trax” module, which will beintegrated into the Zoo’s app in early 2014.
Last August, SCBI scientists began a pilot study to unravel this mystery. Three adult night herons from the rookery at the National Zoo were fitted with satellite transmitters and released. Where did they go?
Next spring, these birds will return to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. There, visitors will again be able to witness, first-hand, their breeding activities—do they find a mate? Do their eggs successfully hatch and fledge? Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether the current locations of these birds are staging areas or final destinations. One thing is certain, we know more now than we did two months ago about where the night herons go when they’re not breeding at the National Zoo.
Tune in for the next chapter in the lives of these birds.