Friday, July 4, 2008

The company I keep

I work along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers around Portland, Oregon.
So, the other day I was down at one of the local marinas washing a boat. As I was leaving, the Great Blue Heron that had been hanging around close by all day let me get within about ten feet to take a couple of photos

I was reminded of a quote attributed to the famous burlesque queen Gipsy Rose Lee (back in the 1930's or 40s) - "You will always be known by the company you keep". I sometimes keep company with Great Blue Herons.

Great Blue Herons are smarter than geese. They have to be, they don't reproduce in as great of numbers. In the spring, down on the river, one will often see whole strings of very vulnerable baby geese swimming along in a line behind the parents(much like a river predator's buffet line) There are big fish, ospreys and the occasional eagle around. Many baby geese disappear before they get big enough to fend for themselves. Conversely, I have never seen any baby herons. I know there are some because there are always herons around the river - but you never see the young. They're not out & about being exposed to whatever dangers beset baby geese. That's why I think Heron's are smarter than geese.

More later,

John Ross