This great blue heron was minding her own business as I zoomed around the delta pond curve, headed west along the Willamette River. As daylight faded I could hear the familiar piercing cry of the all too fiesty red-winged blackbird that has claimed the powerline wire that hangs above the greenish brown water. Water that harbors a buffet of nutrients for all levels of the food chain. Vulnerable young fry (fish babies), including species of concern (i.e. salmon, if I recall correctly...) that are, actually, fish food. This widening, spreading, slowing of a section of the Willamette actually is manREmade. Humans trying to reestablish the kind of habitat that naturally occurred there until rampant human development stepped in. Anyways, instead of going off on a rant, let's bring it back to this fascinating bird battle that played out as I watched from the bank above, frantically trying to set my camera for waning daylight (that's my apology for the blurriness).
She moved slowly, stepping through the water as the blackbird flew in with divebombing fury. Hackles were raised, feathers in this case. The heron rumpled her feathers in surprise or anger.
Rather than reply with equal force, the heron only kept slowly walking on, step by step, through the water. So what could a tiny red wing blackbird do but to land rumpside (looking at our great blue's beak, do you blame him?) and peck like there's no tomorrow.
Needless to say, the heron didn't seem bothered in the least about the whole situation. So finally, in a huff, the RWBL gave up. The day ended in fledging baby scrub jays, peaceful and serene.
BSc in Biology & Environmental Studies (WWC)
MSc. in Journalism (UOregon)
Check out my bird blog, ramblings on about all the birds in my life..
You can find my published work in Eugene Weekly, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and WildLensInc.org.