Friday Night Ferry: Night Heron

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A slightly blurry, low-light, hand-held shot of a black-crowned night heron at the Clay Street ferry dock in Oakland. We’ve been seeing a couple of night herons hanging around the dock for the last several months. Lots of fish in the water right now–anchovies or some kind of bay smelt, we think–but we haven’t seen them go for fish. (What do they eat? Just about anything, according to one account: “The diet of the Black-crowned Night Heron depends on what is available, and may include algae, fishes, leeches, earthworms, insects, crayfish, mussels, squid, amphibians, small rodents, plant materials, garbage and organic refuse at landfills. They have been seen taking baby ducklings and other baby water birds. The night heron prefers shallow water when fishing and catches its prey within its bill instead of stabbing it. Herons will sometimes attract prey by the rapidly opening and closing the beak in the water to create a disturbance that attracts its prey. This technique is known as bill vibrating.”)

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