2022—Watching from the River

This Great Blue Heron, standing in the American River on Sunday at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael, CA had just stepped away from a feeding competition on the riverbank. The GBH was the first on the scene, where a large carp had washed ashore. Taking advantage of the fresh catch of the morning, it began to feast. Remnants of the fish are visible on the bird’s beak. While we watched the GBH, we noticed a Turkey Vulture circling overhead. Then there were two. Then there were ten. A couple of the Turkey Vultures landed and approached the Heron but the Heron, a much larger bird than the Turkey Vultures, lunged, hackles up (do birds have hackles?) and the Vultures backed off… briefly. Eventually, the Vultures and the Heron came to a truce and three birds feasted on the carcass together. Then one of the Vultures began to drag the large fish away from the water’s edge and several then surrounded it, leaving the GBH to watch from a distance as the remaining Vultures circled overhead.