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Bird Uses Fish Bait to Catch Dinner

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Bird Uses Fish Bait to Catch Dinner | Ray Pope, Anthony Gray, Green Heron

Green Heron



Another week has gone by, taking us closer to the Wilson County Fair, where I should be manning our booth for, The Wilson Post. Many of our friends and neighbors will be stopping to visit and some will have their picture taken for my special page, "Seen at the Fair". Some of my friends have already asked me if I would be there to snap a picture of them to go into our newspaper.

Birds are still a little scarce, especially since it has been so dry out in the county. As Anthony Gray and myself scout the territory for our feathered friends, we pay the most attention around the bridges and other small culverts where water flows more frequently as every living thing has to have it. Our first good stop was out the Hartsville Pike where Spring Creek flows, headed to empty its contents into Old Hickory Lake. Nary a sound was coming from the area, but as we pulled his van onto the bridge itself, we did scare up a bird that I haven't seen for a few years here.

The little Green Heron, ( Butorides virescens ) hesitated for a couple of minutes before taking flight towards the east. In times past, I remember some of the "old timers" calling this beautiful bird different names than what I had learned at the hands of my fellow members of the bird club. Don't just know how to spell some of these, but I will try to spell them like I have heard them. "Shikepole" was up at the top of my list, while my most favorite was a, "Mileormore", please don't ask why that name came about, but I remember my old best friend growing up, Wayne Barnes' dad use that name quite often.

The Green Heron is a small Heron, topping out at about 18 inches with a longer neck, but keeps it pressed against its body, as it prepares to strike out at some unsuspecting fish or crawdad. These "smarter" than usual birds will also use bait to try and catch their dinner. They will stand as still as a statue and drop an insect into the water, then when something comes up to eat the bug, "bang", lunch is served. I, myself have never seen this happen, but it has been documented by others who have taken the time to watch and study them.

Adults have a glossy greenish-black cap, with a greenish back and wings, a chestnut colored neck with a white line down the front, gray underparts with short yellow legs. Their bill is dark and with a long sharp point, to aid in it's fish catching ability. I know that I, for one don't want to be on the receiving end of a quick jab of one of them.

The male goes through an intense mating ritual and chooses the site where they construct a nest of sticks, usually over water, where the female will lay a clutch of 2 to 6 pale green eggs, which are laid in 2 day intervals. Both parents incubate the eggs which take from 19 to 21 days before they hatch. The young do not fledge until they are about 30 to 35 days old.

Since we are in a dry period, some flowers will not be producing nectar as they have in the past. This should mean that our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds should be a little more active at your feeders. There have been more reports of activity from many of my friends to prove this out. One of my Hummers even tried to find a place to drink nectar from one of my resident Cardinals. He flew all around the bright red bird, probably making it wonder what was going on. I also have an old tube seed feeder that is red, and most days, I will see them checking it out.

I would love to hear from you as to what's lurking about in your neighborhood and at your feeders. You can write me at, 606 Fairview Ave., Lebanon, TN, 37087, or e-mail me at, rpope15@bellsouth.net

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Anthony Gray, Green Heron, Ray Pope
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