It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Eats the Koi
For weeks, I’ve been thrilled by daily visits to our pond from a Great Blue Heron. I found myself wondering, “How often does he manage to snag a fish to keep him returning so regularly?” Well, on Friday, we began our count.
Behold, Bennu – Greatest of the Herons
Prior to building the ponds, I had seen a Great Blue Heron flying over the neighborhood, so it wasn’t entirely a surprise when our housemate messaged, saying the neighbor had seen a heron standing in the pond, ogling the fish. The reports continued coming in, and it made my heart happy that we had created such an appealing water feature for big wildlife – especially in someplace as arid as Austin.
Day after day, I snuck around the house to catch shots of him staring with longing into the depths at our many foot+ long koi. After so many days of this, I kind of assumed that it had already exhausted the slow/dumb fish supply.
I am thoroughly enjoying life with a resident heron – its enormous wingspan entering my field of vision over the house before it notices me (because I squeak in surprise) and aborts mission. The lurking in our trees, waiting for the moment we go inside to high-step around the pond. The eerie sight of it standing in the dark, lit by the landscaping lights.
Bennu has settled in as a regular part of our lives here, like the titmice and cardinals.
Bennu Beats the Odds
Statistically, our heron was going to succeed in procuring a meal at some point, but witnessing it was something to behold.
I looked out the window to see Bennu on the far side of the pond. These encounters had become routine enough that I wandered back into my room to fold laundry, while my husband decided to sit and watch. After a few minutes, I heard him say, “Um…Bennu just speared a koi…”
I gambled that Bennu wouldn’t try to take off with the fish until it had swallowed its prize, so I snuck around the side of the house, sat on the porch and snapped about 500 shots of the whole fascinating wrestling match.
My most favorite picture is actually the one after Bennu got the koi completely down its gullet…
It’s a lot less personal to watch a heron or egret choke down some enormous, anonymous lake or ocean fish, and I find myself grateful that I haven’t named the fish yet. Though – come to think of it – maybe they should all just be named “Kenny”.
All in all, I’m hoping Bennu’s hit rate is sustainable. It’s gotta to be better than the mink-stinction events we’ve had in Washington!