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.


 
   
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Perry Covington

Master Sgt. Bode named AFRC’s 2014 Crew Chief of the Year

U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Perry Covington Master Sgt. James Bode, Air Reserve Technician and dedicated crew chief, 752nd Aerospace Maintenance Squadron, March Field, runs through some routine maintenance checks on his KC-135 S...
 
 

Retired reservist finds inspiration through loss

(Final in a three-part series chronicling Angela Alexander’s incredible story which led to a book, a ministry and now, a documentary.) Following the untimely death of her two sons in a car crash, Angela Alexander, a retired Air Force Reservist, faced the challenge of sharing her story with the world. She knew God wanted her...
 
 

Acting under secretary of the Air Force appointed

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — President Barack Obama appointed Lisa S. Disbrow to serve as the acting under secretary of the Air Force March 30. Disbrow will take over for Eric Fanning who was recently appointed as chief of staff for Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. “Lisa Disbrow is already a tremendous asset to our Air Force...
 

 

AF Smart Operations of the 21st Century Training Course

Students feverishly poured over charts and graphs as they worked their way through the presented problem at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., during a five-day, Air Force Smart Operations of the 21st Century (AFSO21) Green Belt Training Course from March 22nd to March 27th, 2015. A gathering of both enlisted and officers alike, the group...
 
 

Earth Day 2015 Recycling Facts

Recycling just 48 cans is the energy equivalent of conserving one gallon of gas Since 1990, the paper recovered through U.S. recycling efforts would fill 200 football stadiums to a height of 100 feet The most recycled consumer product in America is the automobile, with 26 cars being recycled every minute Every ton of recycled...
 
 
NCO-induction

Induction ceremony recognizes NCO/SNCO accomplishments

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell McMillan Airmen being inducted into the NCO and SNCO ranks sit in the Cultural Resource Center April 11, 2015, during the induction ceremony. The ceremony recognizes and applauds the a...
 




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