Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cattle Egrets in Baker's Field

I am not certain where Mr. Baker actually had his field, but while I was flying my hand up the central valley past Bakersfield I saw white tall birds standing like statues in many fields. They looked like they were posing for Karate Kid maneuvers. I had always thought they were water birds that somehow got lost from the Pacific flyway when I saw them standing around in soggy Ojai meadows in Spring. I assumed they were looking for fishy-tasting snacks because they appeared to be more suited for estuary visitation.

But I was wrong, at least partially. They devour everything, fingerlings included, but unsuspecting field mice and gophers are favorite foods, too. Any living rodent is acceptable prey. These Egrets are welcome to visit all of the fields surrounding my backyard garden. I will keep my cat in the house, just for good measure, in case they'd like to touch down on Franklin Drive. She is small and probably transportable if a large raptor was wanting housecat for supper. I don't think that a Cattle Egret would stoop so low as that, though. They look so statuesque and royal-like; they wouldn't want recycled Friskies for a meal.

Exactly why they are called Cattle Egrets, I don't know, for even though they are reportedly voracious, I don't think they eat cow.

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