Serenading a Bird (Unsuccessfully!)
Visualize this… Standing in an out of the way location at Sweet Marsh, shortly after sunrise on a cold, windy morning, is a grown adult man singing to the birds. (No, this was not me!) The vocalist is doing his best to entice the uncommon – at least for this time of year – juvenile black-crowned night heron out of its hiding spot. I did not hear how many songs were sung, or which genre the tunes were from, but whatever it was it did not work. (Next time try some story songs from the late 70’s – Maybe Harry Chapin or Jim Croce.)
Believe it or not, my buddy confessed to his balladeering this afternoon. His explanation was that he knew I have had pretty good luck with showing up to this specific area, standing around a little bit – usually not more than a few seconds – and then the seldom seen bird jumps up out of the cattails and on to a branch for my viewing and wildlife photography pleasure. While the bird is out I talk to it or around it with no impact on the heron’s behavior and my buddy knew that. (I often talk to the animals with very few negative responses.)
My buddy has tried to find the bird multiple times without success, so now he is trying to sing to the bird. His approach still has not worked. Perhaps voice lessons will help?
When he told me about his attempt at black-crowned night heron serenading I laughed and laughed. I am not sure what I would do if I happened to walk up on him singing to a bird that may or may not be present.
So, what kind of luck did I have with the juvenile black-crowned night heron now that we have had days of ice-forming cold weather and cutting winds? Well, I made the trek after work today to where I thought the heron might be. I stood still for 5-10 seconds and the bird jumped out of the cattails no more than a few feet away from me. The heron flew to a branch and remained visible long enough for me to set up my camera (on a tripod) and shoot a few photos. Then it dropped back into the cattails where I am sure it was out of the wind. There was no singing, or even humming, coming from me. I simply asked the bird to stay out long enough for a some photos and thanked it when it obliged.
As I said recently, I really hope the heron moves on soon. There is very little open water left and open water is the heron’s food source.
Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron:
Earlier in the day I photographed a raccoon and whitetail deer in corn stubble.
Raccoon in Corn Stubble (not aggressive and showing teeth – just chewing with its mouth open):
Whitetail Deer in Corn Field (at sunrise):