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Herons Go Fishing

To catch a fish, you need the right bait
© Alan Harper View Large

Any fisherman will tell you that to catch a fish, you need the right bait, the perfect spot by the water’s edge, and patience. While they don’t use the traditional line-and-tackle, Striated Herons have mastered these fishing techniques.

Today’s show brought to you by the Bobolink Foundation.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Herons Go Fishing

Written by Bob Sundstrom
 
This is BirdNote.
[a line or two, such as 1.15-1.22,  from “Gone Fishin’” Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby, https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YDeQzjKHaeE]
Any fisherman will tell you that to catch a fish, you need the right bait, the perfect spot by the water’s edge, and patience. While they don’t use the traditional line-and-tackle, Striated Herons have mastered these fishing techniques.
[Striated Heron calls, https://www.xeno-canto.org/238073, 0.11-.15]
These small herons, found in warm regions of four continents, from South America to Australia, are excellent fishers.
First, a heron lures fish in close by dropping things into the water – insects, tiny feathers or leaves, even worms. Then it waits, perfectly still… [Pause]
Suddenly! It strikes, deftly snatching a fish with a swift jab of its beak.
[Striated Heron calls, https://www.xeno-canto.org/238073, 0.11-.15]
Some scientists suspect this bait-fishing evolved in herons as they came to associate the presence of fish with small floating objects. The next step was for herons to manipulate those floating bits, to lure fish within striking range.
Striated Herons aren’t alone in using this technique. Some form of bait fishing has been seen in a dozen bird species, seven of them herons. But it is Striated Herons and their American cousins, Green Herons, that seem most inclined to use lures while fishing.
Maybe we humans aren’t the only ones who developed tools from our environment…
Today’s show brought to you by the Bobolink Foundation.
[Striated Heron calls, https://www.xeno-canto.org/257323, 0.02-.06]
For BirdNote, I’m Ashley Ahearn.
[Gone fishin’...]
                                                             ###
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie
Editor: Ashley Ahearn
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Assistant Producer: Mark Bramhill
Bird sounds provided by Xeno-Canto.org. Recorded by Niels Krabbe and John V. Moore.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2020 BirdNote   January 2020   Narrator: Ashley Ahearn
 
ID# STRH-01-2020-01-10    STRH-01

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