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Old Jul 31, 2004, 8:32 PM   #1
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Heres a few pictures from my local pond.


This little guy's strategy is to hide behind a big rock and catch fish as they come around it. He does pretty well too. I think he caught at least 4 or 5 fish while I was watching.





This one seemed to be just staring off into space.





And this one is the best I've been able to get of the Great Blue in flight. Usually its just the Great Blur! :roll:


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Old Jul 31, 2004, 8:41 PM   #2
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Oh, heres a picture of the Green Heron right after he caught a fish. As you can see, the rest of the fish swam for their lives! :shock:


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Old Jul 31, 2004, 10:54 PM   #3
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That green heron kind of makes you think that perhaps birds do have a bit more brains than we give them credit for, don't you think?

Thanks for documenting that incredible behavior so that we too could be witness to it.

It's pretty neat that you were able to freeze the action on that Great Blue Heron in flight. However, it is quite overexposed. What were your exposure parameters?

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Old Jul 31, 2004, 11:15 PM   #4
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Actually, the heron in flight was a surprise shot so the exposure IS WAY off . I was just arriving at the park, and the heron got spooked by some other visitors. I just took the picture without thinking (I'm lucky the lens cover was already off :roll. My exposure was set for overexposure because I had just taken some Infrared shots with an 87 IR filter.

I agree about birds and intelligence. This bird used that rock on a consistent basis for that season. The last few years have seen much more rain, so now that rock is completely underwater. It's also interesting that some birds are more spooked by behavior than by people or animals. There was a Great Blue Heron that I couldn't get within a few hundred feet of. But that same heron would let people and people with dogs pass within a few yards of it without flinching though. I guess that a persontrying to sneakup on you andstaring at you with a BIG eye (the camera) istoo much like the behavior of a predator. (That, or it was just REAL camerashy! :-))
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Old Aug 1, 2004, 12:09 AM   #5
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I had the same experience as you with respect to a Great Blue Heron and how it took a person stalking with a camera to flush them. In this thread:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=11

I posted a picture of a GBH that I took. I got to within about 15 feet of this bird which seemed pretty darn good. BUT, the darned bird was letting golfers in their carts zoom by within perhaps 10 feet of itself. I think that a photographer moving deliberately towards them awakens a defensive instinct within them... "uh oh, I'm being stalked"...
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Old Aug 1, 2004, 11:08 AM   #6
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geoffs wrote:
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That green heron kind of makes you think that perhaps birds do have a bit more brains than we give them credit for, don't you think?


National Geographic did an article on Sea World many years ago. They added a special section for a green heron they encountered while doing the article. They don't allow birds to fish at Sea World of course, so it came every day at feeding time and flew off with a food pellet they fed their fish with. National Geographic followed him to a nearby stream where he would drop the pellet in the water and wait for it to attract fish. If none came he would pick up his pellet and drop it somewhere else.

It was the first time the behavior was observed, but green herons commonly use bait. It takes a bit of brain power to observe that fish are attracted so a particular thing like fish pellets and find a way to steal one. The bird had to reason it out to some degree because fish pellets aren't something the bird could have instinctively understood.

There is an African Grey parrot named Alex that a lady at the University of Arizona has been working with for years now. It does some pretty amazing things, but the one thing that impresses me the most is that he names stuff he encounters for the first time. They gave him an almond in a shell. After he chewed through the cork-like shell and found a nut inside he named it a "cork nut" and asks for them by the name he gave them. He named bananas "long yellow", dried corn "rock corn", cereal "wheat", and apples "banerry". It takes an understanding of language to know that things need a distinctive name and to understand enough to name things with an appropriate moniker.

I'm required to mention Alex when the conversation turns to bird intelligence because I've lived with an African Grey for nearly 20 years now. I suppose legally I own her since I paid money and that works for human law, but Bwana doesn't look at it that way at all.
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Old Aug 1, 2004, 9:47 PM   #7
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I've heard of herons breaking off sticks and dropping them in the water so they'll float and attract fish (looks like a bug.) But using fish food is a new one to me. Very interesting story.

Eric
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Old Aug 2, 2004, 12:24 AM   #8
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I can believe the story about the fish pellet. It's amazing how intelligent animals are. I hear more stories all the time. I guess it's not just their intelligence that impresses me, but their ability to learn. If only some humans were so endowed!
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Old Aug 2, 2004, 12:42 AM   #9
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geoffs wrote:
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I think that a photographer moving deliberately towards them awakens a defensive instinct within them... "uh oh, I'm being stalked"...
Yes, I agree. I think they understand that to those golfers, and to the people in the park that jog by, they are invisible. They make it very difficult for photographers, who they know are truly looking at them. Hopefully people like those golfers and joggers might seesome ofthepictures from this forum, and maybe next time might stop and take time to actually see these beautiful birds.



In the end, we willconserve only what we love.
We will love only what we understand.
And we willunderstand only what we've been taught.

Baba Dioum (Senegal)
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