Be Your Own Birder

Smile for a Great Fisherman!

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While getting up at 4 a.m. today doesn’t exactly make me smile, it’s finding great fun like this week’s Wednesday Smile that makes getting through the work week easier. For your enjoyment and entertainment this week, consider the fantastic fishermen our featured birds can be – great blue herons are well known for their fishing prowess, often impaling fish much larger than expected on their dagger-like bills. They then spend long minutes beating the fish into compliance, then even longer minutes repositioning their catch to swallow it whole.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron With a Fish – Photo by Bill Majoros

While the process can be fascinating to watch, what if you don’t want these birds making a buffet out of expensive koi or other fish in your backyard pond? Because great blue herons are also solitary and don’t tend to share their best feeding spots, a decoy may be the answer, making other herons believe the pond is already claimed. But…

Of course, it should be noted that some great blue herons are a bit more sociable than others, or antisocial as the case may be. During the breeding season, or if other herons have already staked out a good fishing spot, reactions to a decoy may be somewhat different than expected, as this pond owner discovered!

Want to have your own adventures with great blue herons? Maybe you need to install your own decoy and see what birds enjoy it – or at least which birds argue with it!

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