It brought back memories of another Spring day, when I was able to watch this beautiful bird standing patiently for several minutes, in a shallow basin of water at low tide. It was very focussed, not seeming to notice the close attention that I was paying to it at all, when suddenly its head plunged into the water.
Heron are carnivores and their long legs, neck and pointed bills have evolved to allow them to forage for their water-borne food supply. A further modification in their vertebra lets them draw their neck back into an S-shape. Standing completely motionless, they patiently wait for small fish to move into striking range, and then shoot their head and bill forward with lightning speed to spear their unwary prey.
Unfortunately, these heron are themselves, caught in the middle of the food chain. They must be ever vigilant and on the lookout for the sharp-eyed and swift-flighted eagle. As the eagle population has increased, the ungainly flight pattern of the heron is seriously outmatched, and our heron population is now noticeably declining. Can anything be done, or do we already interfer too much with Mother Nature?
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