Black-Crowned Night Herons are the official bird of Oakland thanks to the advocacy of the members of a third-grade class, one of whom famously declared the heron "a cool and funky bird, just like Oakland."

In How to Do Nothing, Jenny Odell describes them:

If you've never seen one, night herons are stocky compared with other herons. My boyfriend once described them as a cross between a penguin and Paul Giamatti. They have a grumpy stoicism about them, sitting hunched over with their long neck completely hidden away.

The heron features in a May 2020 mural painted by artist Chris Granillo on Lakeside Avenue near Lake Merritt, the nation's first wildlife refuge.

Oakland's Night Herons in the news