Culture

Calling All Birdy-People!

By Bernie Bell

Mike and I like to watch birds – I like to see them, but don’t fuss much about knowing what they are called. Mike likes to see, and to know.  He also knows something of their habits, but the heron (named Kraak by us) which is now a daily visitor to the pond in our garden, is doing something which neither of us had ever seen or heard of.  Kraak washes his frogs before he eats them! 

He stands, patiently, poised, then we see his head dart down, and up he comes with a frog in his beak!  He then paces around to the shallow end of the pond….

…….and washes the frog, dipping his beak in the water and shaking it about. He does that a few times, then swallows the frog whole. 

I wonder why?  Mike suggested that there might be duck weed on the frog, and Kraak  doesn’t want to eat his greens, or that the weed might catch in his craw?  We don’t know, and can’t work it out.  Do any ‘Orkney News’ readers have any suggestions, or know about this behaviour?

Kraak is very skittery – the slightest thing ‘spooks’ him and he flies away, so I would have thought that he wouldn’t want to hang about washing frogs before he eats them – that he’d want to get it down his neck as quick as possible?

A heron’s gotta eat!

I have to admit though, that the ways of herons are a mystery to me.

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