Every evening beginning after 5pm, up to 20,000 big herons fly in to Petulu, a village about 2.5km north of Jl Raya Ubud, squabbling over the prime perching places before settling into the trees beside the road and becoming a tourist attraction.
The herons, mainly the striped Java pond species, started their visits to Petulu in 1965 for no apparent reason. Villagers believe they bring good luck (as well as tourists), despite the smell and the mess. A few warung (food stalls) have been set up in the paddy fields, where you can have a drink while enjoying the spectacle. Walk quickly under the trees if the herons are already roosting. Nesting and egg-laying begins in November, with the fledglings taking flight in March.
Petulu is a pleasant walk or bicycle ride on any of several routes north of Ubud, but if you stay for the birds, you'll be heading back in the dark.