Monday, June 11, 2012

Cinco and the Great Blue Heron

Cinco Makes New Friends at Peaks of Otter Lodge
Never let it be said that my dog isn't good at making new friends. Okay, well, she isn't great at it. She really wants to, she's just timid about it. She wants to sniff and generally suss out new people, and she's more than willing to accept treats from them, but there will be no touching, thank you very much, until much much later in the getting-to-know-you process.

Here's the thing, though. Isn't she cute? Everyone says so. Look at those eyes. They draw you in, and you just want to cuddle her. Trust me on this. Not cool. This is the surest way to send her running for the hills where she will hide, preferably under a  bed or a desk to growl until you cease and desist trying to pet her immediately. How did she get to be such a worry wart? I mean, I've owned her since she was six weeks old, and yes, she had it rough in those first six weeks, but she's been living the high life ever since.

Photo by Amanda Corlies Sandos
Anyway, I mentioned a great blue heron, didn't I? Yes, well, apparently great blue herons are not subject to exactly the same distrust as humans. Cinco is more than happy to bound right up to one, regardless of its killer bill that can skewer her, and it's incredibly long neck and deadly accuracy. These things? Not a big deal. Humans wanting to finger her? Terrifying.Luckily, the heron she chose to approach is probably old hat at these sorts of encounters, since she lives on the lake at the Peaks of Otter Lodge, where I'm sure tourists, their dogs, and even more frightening, their children have done all manner of strange things to the poor bird. She is immune. She just flies a short distance away, and promptly goes back to ignoring any intruders as if they are so much dirt under her feathers.

Photo by Amanda Corlies Sandos

What she does not tolerate well, however, are those pesky red-winged black birds landing anywhere near her person. She let my dog and I sit very nearby for almost an hour taking multiple photos of her. But, should a blackbird land anywhere near, she goes into a rage, attacking it, flapping her wings at it, and poking away until she's chased it off again. One of them climbing high into the bush above her to get away from her tanterums. This, apparently, was not
far enough.

Photo by Amanda Corlies Sandos
I had to laugh when the heron took hold of the branches to shake the whole tree vehemently until the offensive bird left. Cinco and I stayed for some time while I tried without success to capture this behavior in a decent photo. After a while, though, I started to wonder if the heron was exhibiting misplaced aggression. I mean, really, what could the blackbirds do to offend her? However, they are certainly easier to take on than some pesky tourist and her even more annoying overly-friendly dog. After giving this some thought, I decided it might be best for everyone if Cinco and I moved on.  It was a pleasure to meet you Mrs. Heron. Sorry for the intrusion.

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