Local

October 26, 2012

Birds of a different feather

Tags:
by Linda Welz
452 AMW public affairs
121015-F-EQ386-001
A Great Blue Heron flies over the parade field at March Air Reserve Base. The majestic avian visits various fields on base in search of food, which consists of small mammals and insects. (U.S. Air Force photo/Linda Welz)

March Air Reserve Base is home to the mighty C-17 Globemaster III and the reliable KC-135 Stratotanker. But did you know it’s also home to several species of other birds, of the feathered variety? In particular, the Great Blue Heron has become a frequent visitor to the base parade field and visits it in the morning and the evening to hunt its prey.

“As with other areas on base, the parade grounds are a welcoming retreat for our feathered friends. They entertain us,” said Maria Briones, 452nd Air Mobility Wing financial management office.

The base commander has nicknamed one of the birds, Hap, but ladies in the financial management office call it Clyde, according to Faith Saunders, who works there.

“I just think these birds are fascinating and a good stress reliever,” Saunders said.

This stork-like avian moves its tall legs deliberately, one in front of the other, almost stealth-like until it spots a meal, which could range from insects to rodents, as its staple, fish diet is not available here. It looks statuesque in the grassy area as it patiently waits until just the right moment to go in for the kill. With lightning-quick reflexes, it uses its long bill like a dagger to render its prey motionless in an instant, after which, the Heron swallows its catch whole. The Great Blue Heron can swallow prey much larger than its long, thin neck by controlling its neck muscles, much like a snake. It stands about four feet tall with its neck fully extended and has a wing span that can reach up to 6 feet.

Although this species is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which makes it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture or kill any bird and to ship or transport any bird or its parts, nest or egg, it doesn’t address nudging the birds to move along when needed for flight safety; theirs and ours.

The Great Blue Heron weighs about five or six pounds, said Heather Barker, wildlife manager and ecologist with the Birdstrike Control Program. With that mass and the possibility of the Heron entering our flight path, a bird strike to one of our aircraft would be significant, she said.

“I’ve just seen two of them, but there may be more. With such a small number and the time of day they fly over the airfield, usually early morning before there are flights scheduled, the risk is much less,” Barker said.

She has spotted them in several of the grassy areas on base because of the holes and resident small mammals, she said. The Great White Egret, a different species, is also a regular.

“They know my truck already so sometimes I park farther away and send the dog in,” Barker said. “They are very cautious. Their tactic is to stand extremely still and blend in, but my dog trusts me when I tell her there’s something there. She’s looking for it so the second it moves, she sees it.”

The purpose of harassing the migratory birds is to get them to relocate to an area where they won’t fly over the airfield or into the flight path. If the dog chases them away enough times, they will most-likely move to an area where they will be safer; a win-win for every bird, feathered or not.

A Great Blue Heron holds a rodent it just caught near the parade field at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., Oct. 16, 2012. The Heron hunts daily at various locations on base and has been dubbed “Hap” by the commander and “Clyde” by financial management personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Linda Welz)




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
   
 

 
150412-F-RK887-0128

Team March Father/Daughter 2015 Masquerade Ball

  Images capture the celebration and love at the Team March Father/Daughter Masquerade Ball held Saturday, April 11, on base. The first event of its kind here, organizers plan to make it an annual event to raise funds for ...
 
 
Salazar

Team March loses Airman

Technical Sergeant Anthony E. Salazar August 31, 1974 – April 13, 2015 Tech. Sgt. Anthony “Tony” Salazar, mechanical systems repairman, 452nd Civil Engineer Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, California, died Monday April ...
 
 
SrA-Pettit-picture

Team March loses Airman

Senior Airman Travis Pettit August 28, 1989 – April 4, 2015 Senior Airman Travis Pettit, KC-135R boom operator, 336th Air Refueling Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, California, died Saturday April 4, 2015. Pettit made his ho...
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joe Dangidang

Ricardo’s new barbers

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joe Dangidang Maria DeLuna (left) and Michelle Tovar Vazquez are the new barbers at Ricardo’s Barber Shop in the Hap Arnold Club. They have combined experience of 23 years and are happy to b...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Megan Crusher

Understanding and caring for women veterans

U.S. Air Force photo/Megan Crusher Lisa Roybal, women veterans’ program coordinator, Loma Linda Health Care System, Chief Master Sgt. Jo Keller, 452nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, and Airman Sasha Langley, 452nd Air Mobil...
 
 
163rd Security Forces Squadron courtesy photo

March Airmen respond to helicopter crash

163rd Security Forces Squadron courtesy photo A UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter rests on its side at Ramona Airport, Ramona, California, Jan. 20, 2015, after crashing. Seven Airmen from the 163rd Reconnaissance Wing’s Security For...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin