Beautiful Great Blue Heron and One Special Feather

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather – babsjeheron

.

Great blue heron fishing with a feather as bait.

Great Blue Heron shaking a seagull feather – babsjeheron

Doesn’t this Great Blue Heron holding a seagull feather bring to mind a friendly dog playfully carrying his favorite toy back to you, wagging his tail?
.
.

At the time, I wanted to say to her, “Who’s a good girl? You are! You are a good girl!” because the way she pranced the length of the submerged log seemed so playful – at first.
.

At first, it looked playful, but then I realized the seagull feather was not a mere toy to this Great Blue Heron – it was a tool, a fishing lure she repeatedly dipped into the water to entice fishes up to the surface, making it easier for her to spear them with her stiletto beak.
.
.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 2 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

For some birds, it is dinnertime more often than not.
.
.
/
Searching for their next meal, or that of their offspring, is a full-time job.
.
.

.
.
A few Great Blue Herons at the lake have adapted tools to make fishing much easier, and dinner more of a sure thing.

.
.

.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 4 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 4 – babsjeheron

.
.
She would pluck the feather from the water’s surface, and shake loose the droplets…
.
.
.

.
…And then carefully drop the feather back down into the water…
.

.
.

.
.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 5 – babsjeheron   © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 5 – babsjeheron

.
.
After a few moments, she retrieved it with that stiletto beak again, shook it dry, and then dropped it into the water once more.
.

.
.

Transfixed, I watched her repeat this for more than ten minutes.
.

.

.
.
It looked almost ritualistic – totemic or shamanic even.
.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 6 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 6 – babsjeheron

To see a feathered creature brandishing a feather from a different bird in such repetitive behavior.
.
,
,

And then it dawned on me.
.

.
.
Before she first picked up the feather, she had been fishing, staring intently into the water as though tracking a fish, from the half-submerged pine trunk.
.
.
.
.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 8 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 8 – babsjeheron

.
And once she picked up the feather, she continued her fishing – using the feather as bait to attract her prey, the fish.
.
.
.

.
.
How smart a bird and how alluring a lure she chose.
.

.

Crows are the master tool users of the bird world, but as this experience shows, herons are smart birds, too.
.
.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 10 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 10 – babsjeheron

.
I’ve observed herons using tools for fishing on other occasions, but there’s something magical and special about her choice of a feather.
.
.

.
.

After all, don’t human fishermen – especially fly casters – often fashion their lures with feathers?
.
.

.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 11 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 11 – babsjeheron

.
.
.
Why should a Great Blue Heron choose any differently?
.
.

.
Ingenious heron!
.
.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 13 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 13 – babsjeheron

.
.
That day, I took more than 925 photographs at the lake.
.

.
.

The Great Blue Heron you see here is one of only three I’ve named: Juliette.
.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 14 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 14 – babsjeheron

.
.

.
While Juliette and I were in the middle cove, her suitor Romeo was just over the ridge in the long slender cove, oblivious to the mysterious joys of fly casting with a feather.
.
.
.
Romeo missed all the fun that day.
,
,
,
.
.
.

Last Wednesday I had a successful eye surgery, but apparently it hasn’t cured my dyslexia, and I posted my photo backwards accidentally. I think this is right now?

Babsje With Clear Eye Patch - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Babsje With Clear Eye Patch – babsjeheron

The eye patch is only temporary, but I sure could use a more fetching one!

.
.

.
This post is prompted by Cee Neuner and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. The focus for this week’s LAPC is Going Wide. Isn’t Go Wide something the Coach calls as a football play? Or wasn’t there a saying Go Big or Go Home? I don’t have a wide-angle camera lens any more, so I can’t Go Wide. Maybe I should just Go Home. Unless the big, wide sky encompassing Comet Hale-Bopp and the Pleiades counts:

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Comet Hale-Bopp at top right, the Pleiades mid-frame above the trees – babsjeheron.

.

Thanks to Cee for her CMMC: Dark Greens. Green foliage abounds at the lake.
.
.

.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
.

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Looking Up, Looking Down .
.

.

Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and they need your love.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick

Posted on September 14, 2021, in # Lens-Artists, ardea herodias, Astrophotography, Birds, Heron, Mindfulness, Nature, Photo Essay, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 41 Comments.

  1. It’s interesting to see a Great Blue Heron use a feather as a fishing tool. These herons are a lot smarter than we think.

  2. The heron looks like he is going to write a sonnet with the feather and hope your eye heals quickly.

    • I love that imagery – a Heron writing a sonnet with a feather. And thanks for your well wishes – I can see a big improvement already. – pun intended. Best, Babsje

  3. Dear Babsje,
    great pictures and great explanation 👍 Thank you very much 🙏🙏
    It’s amazing how clever birds are.
    We like the picture of Hale-Bopp as well.
    All the best to your eye
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Many thanks and my best wishes to all The Fab Four or Cley. I’m pleased that you like the Heron with feather sequence and appreciate your well wishes for my eye. Reading and typing are immensely easier today than just one week who. Best, Babsje 😊 😊 😊 😊

  4. Holy Moley babsje, 925 shots?!?!? Good heavens, what must your archives look like?!??! Loved your creative bird – Juliette indeed!!

    • Thanks Tina, you have me giggling. archives are on 4 external drives and at the moment this laptop has less than 3gb free on the volume that has my photos. It’s smoking from the seams. Glad you enjoyed Juliette! Many thanks for your great comment. Best, Babsje

  5. What a wonderful moment to witness Babsje, I’ve never seen herons use a tool the way Juliette so beautifully does! Thank you so much for sharing and I wish you a speedy recovery from your eye surgery 💜🙏

    • Many thanks for your kind comment. I have seen Herons use twigs as lures but this was the only feather in use that I saw. And thanks also for your well wishes. Getting better by the day. Best, Babsje

  6. Very interesting that a Heron would do this Babsje! So to get a fish it attracted it would have to drop the feather suddenly and grab the fish quickly? Did you see it get a fish?

    • It so similar to fly-casting. The feather lure tickles the water surface and tricks the fish into thinking there’s a food source and so the fish rises up. In this case, the Heron did not catch a fish with the feather. Eight minutes after the last feather photo, she moved a little bit along that log and…and she picked up a twig and resumed fishing with the twig. I swear I am not making this up. Unbelievable isn’t it? I ran out of time and steam to add any more photos to this post at 3am. Thanks for the great comment Wayne. You always ask good questions. Best, Babsje

  7. Wow – I am so glad you captured this activity!

  8. Interesting post, Babsje. Lovely images and info on how clever the herons are! Feel better, too!

  9. Wow… what a series of heron! Thank you for the post. Hope you are doing well.

    • Hi Amy – so glad you like Juliette the Heron with her feather. And thanks for your well wishes – good progress and healing so far! The color blue is much more vivid now. Best, Babsje

  10. The dark green back is beautiful with the GBHs. 😀 😀

  11. 925 photos … sounds like a fashion photographer at work, (LOL) .., at least that’s how imagine them when they work. The most I shot at one time was around 80-90. Go big, go wide, it doesn’t get any bigger or wider with the sky.
    Fishing with flies, that’s tried and true. At least the GBH didn’t need to worry about how she cast her “fly.” 🙂
    Elizabeth did a re-send on her email with your continuing issues on receiving as a just in case.

    • Thanks David! You’re right – the Heron didn’t have to worry about casting her fly – but she didn’t feel in anything using that feather – and so she switched to using a twig!

      I can’t imagine being a fashion photographer. The thoughts of lots of strobe flashing seems like such a very different world. But so exciting for them.

      I found Elizabeth’s resend – thanks for letting me know. Will follow up in the morning. Best, Babsje

  12. Great study in heron fishing, and yeah, what they said. Only 925 photos? You’re slipping!! (Hope your eye heals well too.)

    • Many thanks John. Yes, guess I slacked off that day. 😊 there are worse ways to spend 6 or 7 hours than on the water with Juliette and Romeo the Herons. Thanks for the well wishes. Best, Babsje

  13. Wonderful captures!! Hope you heal quickly and get back to clicking.

    • Hi Cindy. Thanks very much for the kind well wishes. My shutter button finger is itching to get back out there. Loved your latest Hummingbirds, btw! Best, Babsje

  14. Wish you a speedy recovery! And thank you for the Juliette story! A good one!

  15. Now you have me wondering what ‘our’ GBH in a recent post was doing by dipping a wing tip in the water. Any ideas? The shots were taken by the trail cam so we didn’t get a chance to watch the action more closely. https://gunta.photos/2021/09/05/great-blue/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: