birds use tools and other tricks

Over the past month the predominant subject on the slough has been the Canadian Geese. When they first arrived late last October they kept a low profile. As the mating season approached they became more boisterous and active. They began in a group of three, now there are two, I suspect the third wheel found a new mate. I now have around 1,000 images when my archived images are added in, I’m not sure what to do with them.

I’m not interested in writing yet another Canada Goose blog today but that’s the way it began; I’m picking up the needle and placing it in different groove.

My latest reading extravaganza has been nature books, some audio others hard print. I am discovering many traits of birds, Whales and Octopi that are absolutely jaw dropping. My interest tonight has to do with Night Herons and their near cousin the Green Herons.

Birds are smarter than we give them credit for, some traits are passed down from generations before them. Other remarkable traits are seemingly self taught still others are instinct.

Green Herons and Night Herons as well have been observed creating a small raft of twigs, leaves and other floating debris and placing it in the water in front of them. The intent is to place a screen to block the bait fishes view of the predator. They will then wait patiently for extended periods until a fish nears close enough for them to be nabbed.

They have also been observed by Scientists to drop pieces of bread onto the top of the water. Apparently they have seen humans tossing it to the Ducks and other water birds. However at the same time small fish would rise up to feed on it. Some where along the line the small Herons thought to drop crumbs in the water and wait until minnows rose to feed then they are grabbed.

Birds make, store and use tools; many of us are familiar with the Crows abilities to manufacture, improve, store and use a wide variety of them. It may be a universal trait shared by many if not most birds. The experiments proving it take a long time and a considerable amount of work many times in dangerous places. The field Scientists face obstacles, the most common is skepticism from their peers, many will not accept ideas out the norm. Sometimes an entire generation of them must pass until new ideas are accepted, Science is ever changing but the minds of some Scientists are not.

Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance

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