Monday, June 1, 2015

Black-crowned Night Heron Fishing

 I went looking for the Black-crowned Night Heron the other day and spotted her at the end of the pond struggling with a sunfish.

This is worse than bobbing for apples. I can't imagine only using your mouth to capture and eat food. 

I say "her" because what I have read seems to indicate the male has the long hind neck plumes. If you look at the pictures in last Thursday's post, you will see only one had the plumes.

Characteristically, the heron has grasped it's prey in her bill rather than stabbing it. Great Blue Herons, on the other hand, will often stab a fish clean through.

The sunfish is surprisingly dark bodied. It may be that it was in breeding colors like the bird. In fact, sunfish will scoop out a little depression on the bottom in shallow water, lay their eggs and stand over them fanning the eggs with their tail. Perhaps that is why she was able to catch such a large one.

She was finally able to choke it down. I am often surprised by how large a fish herons can swallow.

You can almost bet on the fact that a heron will drink after swallowing a fish.

Sometimes, that is a problem.

She must really be thirsty!

Almost immediately after finishing her meal, she dove into a nearby bush presumably to nap until nightfall.

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