August 2, 2022

Art & Lifestyle:

Young Artists Sought for Sotterley Contest -

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Free Summer STEM Camp @ USMSM -

Monday, July 25, 2022

St. Mary’s, Eat, Live, and Be Healthy -

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Donations Sought for Back-to-School Fair -

Monday, July 18, 2022

Chesapeake Birds Use Tools, Says the Cap’n

Message from the Cap’n is a compilation of fishing advice, waterman and weather insights, Chesapeake lore, and ordinary malarkey from the folks who keep their feet wet in the Potomac and St. Mary’s rivers.

From the Interpretive Buoy System the water temperature in the Lower Potomac heading out of the Independence Day long weekend was warming up fast to more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the salinity falling, hovering around 11.8 PSU (practical salinity unit).

Our feathered friends from around the Chesapeake Bay never cease to amaze me. We humans think we are so smart but “we don’t know jack” about the wildlife surrounding us.

I feed birds at our handrail feeder every morning, and a lot of birds visit. I watch nuthatches use a crack in handrail to hold seeds so they can hammer their beaks on target to crack the shell. And there’s the redheaded woodpecker I watch hiding seeds in pine tree bark for later use.

The Northern Cardinals, described here by the Chesapeake Bay Program, are the most famous for pestering me until I fill the feeder. I know I should not get them dependent on such handouts but I do it anyway.

I have one cardinal I call “Marty,” who will follow me down to the oyster house some 300 feet away, chirping at me to feed him. I told that bird “go back to the house ’cause your food is in the feeder up there.” He immediately flew back to the house for his handout.

  ‘deed-by-Gawd-Cap’n that’s the truth!

True Osprey tale: I used to feed an Osprey family of four chicks by rigging a clothesline from the shore to a pole close to the nest. I used the lid of an old cooler as the feeding platform. I’d put a fish on the lid and reeled it as far from shore as it would go for the adults to take back to the nest for their young.

The adult birds would watch as a fish was pulled out into the creek, heads darting back and forth the whole time. Such it was at feeding time, and they always took it to the nest.

One day I put two fish on the lid and pulled it out into the creek. The Osprey took a fish to the nest, but a Herring Gull landed on the lid and was pecking at the remaining one. That Osprey took a stick from the nest, flew over the gull, and dropped the stick on it to scare it away. This the first instance that I witnessed an Osprey using a tool to do a job!

  Hope Christ-me-kill-me, that’s true also.

Till next time, remember “It’s Our Bay, Let’s Pass It On.”

The Cap’n

Catch up on any pearls of wisdom you might have missed by visiting Messages from the Cap’n Member Page. Or reach Cap’n Jack here: [email protected] or 240-434-1385.

Leave A Comment