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The Art of Patience

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Chris,

I do not recognize your pretty and sleek bird but I am taken by it!

Did such birds get smaller to take advantage of slender bamboo as their perches? How did the evolution proceed of that extraordinary angled grasp by their talons.

What is grasped by them? Just Beatles or perhaps a baby mouse?

Why dis the legs evolve to be green?

...and how come an “educated” fellow like myself is so ignorant!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Cool Least Bittern! The intensity of these little herons' eyes when on the hunt is deadly to a minnow.
Aha, Doug! Thank you!

That explains the talons too! Miniature herons! It never occurred to me! What’s more, the minnows will have the least concentration of man-made chemicals and, all things being equal, this Least Bittern should survive the Anthropocene Epoch!

Asher
 

Chris Calohan

Active member
In all fairness, Asher, I did put the name of the heron in the tagline. As Herons go, the Least Bittern and its closest cousin, the Green Heron are my favorites. The intensity of their stare, concentration and patience is quite remarkable. While it doesn't appear so in this pose, this guy can stretch to incredible lengths, all the while hanging onto a slender branch as seen here:

1876
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Chris,

Yes, you have amazing patience to be able to get such behavior shots. But folk that understand the birds are just like that: patient to the nth!

I wonder whether birders make better parents, using this quality or does it just get limited to this specialized form of non-destructive “hunting” modern humans have developed.

Remember, Audubon actually killed so many beautiful birds to get his specimens to draw!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Chris,

Comparing these two pictures, except for the common angle of the bird, one would think they were hardly the same creature, but two distinct species!


1884


The change in form is simply a stunning adaption. The intervertebral disks must be elastic to allow the neck to elongate so! But that's unlikely to be the whole story.

Rather I expect that the neck is already almost that long but curved back on itself in the first picture, so the leverage of the bird on its perch is minimized. To catch a fish the neck is straightened and then the extra “muscle” force of gravity further elongates the neck, stretching the skin and giving that so different appearance!

But I expect you have figured this out already, many years back!

1880

Both you and Doug Herr, as well as Peter Dexter do a fine job of sharing the fruits of your labor. I cannot say enough as to how much this is appreciated!

Without loving and feeling for these amazing creatures, how can we hunters respect that the land must be shared?

Asher
 

Chris Calohan

Active member
They are patient but they are also quite cunning and masters of camouflage as they hide in cypress stumps only to dart that beak into the water with lightning speed and bring up a small fish. I've only seen one miss in hundreds of hits.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
1885

Chris,

Is the neck just like a big heron just hidden away, curved back on itself, “tucked in” right here in the first picture?

Asher
 

Chris Calohan

Active member
It is, but more concealed than that of an Egret or Great Blue Heron. In your reposted image, what are the black spots in the frame at the bottom? Oh, and while he has large feet - mostly so he can walk on the lily pads, and sharp talons, his primary weapon is that beak that could easily pierce all the way through your hand in the time it would take you to say ouch. The claws are mainly for hanging onto precarious perches.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Sorry!

Those black marks were my fingernail accidentally writing when I screen captured the image.

All corrected!

Asher
 
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