What is happening here? A hungry swim of cormorants have pushed a stream of bait fish towards the shallow shore waters. The minnows are met by equally as hungry Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets waiting on the rocks. I’ve watched many egrets eat prey and they often toss it about in the air for half a minute before swallowing whole, I think to line it up so the fish or frog goes straight down its gullet. At that very moment when the egrets are adjusting their catch, the gulls swoop in and try to snatch the minnows from the egrets. This scene was filmed at Niles Beach. My friend Nancy shares that she has observed the egret  and cormorant symbiotic feeding partnership many mornings over by where she lives on the Annisquam River.

2 thoughts on “MINNOW HULLABALOO

  1. Trying not to sound like as smart a_ _. Your friend Nancy is not quite correct in using the term “symbiotic” regarding the cormorants and wading birds. The cormorants are deriving no benefit from the waders being on the shore. The waders have just “learned” that food will be available when cormorants use the herding behavior. Just like the gulls have learned to follow the waders and cormorants to steal some
    Two other notes of interest. Green Herons have learned to “fish” using bait. You may have seen the videos of them dropping a fish pellet in a moving stream and catching the fish that come after it. I saw this somewhere in Florida many years ago. The other observation is the cormorant’s behavior of fish herding. Cormorants, as you probably know, are in the pelican family and White Pelicans always are seen using a similar behavior to catch fish.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Robert, no you don’t sound like a smart a–.

      I would like to learn the specific name for this type behavior in biology terms, when only one side benefits.

      But in thinking about it, perhaps it may be more symbiotic than may at first be obvious because I imagine that the feeding herons on shore would push the minnows back towards the cormorants. Just a thought 🙂


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