Friday, June 6, 2008

Having A Bad Day

GG and I were standing out by the pond a few weeks ago (before we launched the blog) and watched as one of the green herons flew back and forth across the pond. (As it is difficult to tell the difference in the male and female from a distance I will just refer to the bird as 'he'.) For those of you not familiar with this bird it is one of the smaller herons. It is generally shy and stays away when there are too many visitors to the pond. We had been seeing a pair of green herons frequently and wondered if they had a nest near the pond.

The heron eventually flew into the thicket of vines and shrubs at the end of the pond. My immediate thought was that perhaps it had a nest in the thicket. Before I could even open my mouth to mention it, out of the thicket he came squawking loudly and flying low to the water as fast as he could. He was so low he actually hit the surface 2 or 3 times in his haste to get away from the thicket. Evidently he had flown directly into the presence of some predator, perhaps a snake or some other natural enemy. GG and I laughed at his almost cartoon-like departure from potential danger.

The bird flew off and GG and I continued our conversation. About 15 minutes later I happened to notice something swaying in the trees along the southern edge of the pond. There was a slight breeze at the time but the swaying did not match the general swaying of the limbs. I decided to investigate and as I got closer I realized it had to be an animal. It was a green heron.

He had flown into what was evidently an old fishing line that was strung between two trees that extend over the edge of the water. Somehow it caught him by the very tip of his right wing and he was hanging at least 15-20 feet above the water level. I have no idea how the line got there or how long it had been there. Nevertheless, the bird was trapped hanging half-way between the two trees and was in severe distress.

Of course we launched an immediate rescue operation. We quickly obtained an extension ladder and using the tree I was able to climb high enough to be level with the bird. Fortunately I was able snag the line with a long pole and pull it to me. The line broke as I was pulling it and the bird fell a few feet into the branches below.

When I started down the ladder he fluttered a bit and then I lost sight of him. He had evidently fallen through the branches and disappeared. We knew he did not fall into the water below as it had not been disturbed. We stood there pondering the disappearance and concluded that his escape had been hidden by the thick limbs and brush.

While we were still discussing his escape and wondering if he would recover we were shocked to see a green heron fly in over the end of the pond and head for the pine trees on the other side to perch on a limb as they often do. We were even more surprised when within 2-3 minutes another green heron came flying in and joined him. Neither bird showed any signs of injury in their flight. Obviously he had survived the ordeal.

We can't be sure that the heron that beat the hasty retreat was the same one that got caught in the line. If it was you have to admit he was having a pretty bad day. Luckily he didn't give up on the pond, however. We continue to see the pair at the pond frequently when things are quiet and there are few people around. We have identified a couple of possible nests close to the pond, but have not yet seen the birds actually go to one of them though they are often in that vicinity.

This was one of the incidents that prompted the creation of this blog. We decided we needed a place to chronicle some of the interesting things going on in and around the pond so we could share them with friends and relatives. And what better place than a blog where we could share them with new friends on the net?


  1. Baker~I just love stopping by your pond because of tales like this. A wonderful example of how we can fix the problems that people inflict on nature.

    It reminds me of how small we humans are and how great the nature is around us. So, I thank you.

  2. Thanks so much Dano - We always love to see you drop by - It was a lucky thing that we just happened to be out by the pond that day - We finally figured that the herons did not have a nest by the pond but we think perhaps they had one very nearby, maybe next to the pond across the road



Thanks for stopping by to visit our little pond. We would love to see you again real soon.