A Year on Clear Lake-Apr 22, 2013

A Penny for Your Thoughts–April 22, 2013

New arrivals today–the Green Heron, and a flock of Starlings.

The Green Heron is small and stocky, and one of the few birds that uses a tool to catch its prey. It drops bait on the surface of the water, and grabs the small fish that come to investigate. The website All About Birds reports that it  uses a variety of baits and lures, including crusts of bread (wonder where it finds that?), insects, earthworms, twigs, or feathers. Today he seems to be checking out the new locale. We’ll see if he returns in the coming days.

A small flock of European Starlings also stopped to take advantage of insects stirred up in newly mowed grass. These birds have an interesting history. They are not native to North America but are descended from a small group of birds set loose in New York’s Central Park in the early 1890s. A group of Shakespeare fans wanted America to have the birds mentioned by the great English bard (the group  also released House Sparrows). After several tries, the Starling population took off. Today there are more than 200 million Starlings from Mexico all the way to Alaska. They are also considered pests by many.

A good thing to remember, our actions have consequences. Generations downstream may scratch their heads and wonder, “What were they thinking?”