Thursday, June 28, 2012

Catch and Release

My wife and I use to be fishing fools.  If we weren't working, we were fishing.  And, although catching fish is a lot of fun, cleaning them isn't.  Scales and slime and a smell that won't wash out of your hands no matter what you do - yuck!

So, catch and release was not only sporting, but fit right into the idea of not having something else to clean when the day was done.  Truth be told, it was probably safer NOT to eat the fish we caught in many locations.  If you want a real eye-opener, go to the website of your local department of natural resources and read their recommendations on which fish to avoid eating.

Imagine what it must be like for an osprey after catching and eating a fish and feeding their chicks. I have never seen an osprey carry off the remains and neither have I seen any remains beneath a nest, so I assume the left overs just lay in the nest ripening.  I watched a fish crow on several occasions hanging out in a nearby tree, hoping to steal the remains of fish from the osprey nest.  Fish crows have a very distinctive nasal "caw" which makes them easy to identify.

Osprey have the same problem with slime and scales and smell as we do, however.  And their solution is not much different.  They wash their feet as best they can, but they do it in a unique way.  They fly just above the water - and I do mean JUST above the water and drag their feet to clean them.  When they start to lose speed, they lift up out of the water, fly a ways to get up to speed again, then drop down to the water to wash some more.  They may do that several times until they have gotten them clean again.  Now, the eagles - I'm not sure what they do.  But, they don't drag their feet in the water.

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