Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fishing with Bread

When I was a kid, we use to traipse down to the Arkansas River with fishing rods and a box of Wheaties to mix up dough balls for catfish.  We watched others use bread dough balls with less success.  It is possible that there were heron watching and learning from us.

Mort Shurtz shared this video with me, demonstrating another technique of fishing with bread. This green heron is a patient fisherbird, giving a whole new meaning to "cast your bread upon the waters."  It is especially interesting how it retrieves the lure so it won't lose its bait.  We have all seen people feeding fish, ducks and geese with bread crumbs.  Apparently herons have noticed this as well.

video

This behavior has been reported before.  Green heron are only one of several bird species reported to "use tools."   A chestnut-backed chickadee has been observed using a stick or thorn to pry seeds from suet in a feeder.  The brown-headed nuthatch is known to use pieces of bark to pry off tree bark to reach insects underneath.*  While not exactly a tool, burrowing owls are known to bait an area with animal dung to attract dung beetles, a favored food item. **

While the green heron hasn't yet been observed with an open-faced spinning reel, this method is quite effective and this bird caught one more fish that I did my last time out.

More details on birds use of tools is at Stanford.edu.
*    nationalzoo.si.edu
**  Nature.com

1 comment:

  1. That's pretty amazing. Next thing you know they will be tying flies.

    ReplyDelete