Shitepoke ClubRally    

So you want to know about  Shitepokes?

The green-backed heron (Butorides striatus) is commonly known by it's Salish name, "shitepoke."   

Green-backed herons are known to actually use bait to lure fish. In one instance, a scientist was observing birds along a lakeshore and he threw a piece of bread to a green-backed heron. The heron took the bread and dropped it in the water. At first the scientist thought the heron was simply softening up the bread. But as the bread started to float away the heron picked it up and placed it back in the same spot. Finally, a fish came up to nibble on the bread the heron speared it! The scientist continued to observe this feeding behavior for three consecutive days. 

This "baiting" behavior has been observed by several other researchers as well.  Green-backed herons have been seen using a variety of lures, including commercial fish bait obtained from a marine park, feathers, flies, various insects, plant materials such as twigs and moss, and even garbage such as bits of styrofoam.

There are unsubstantiated reports that herons have recently been accumulating bait that resembles Volkswagen parts in nesting areas near Lake Nahwatzel, but no one knows why.  


A rabbit challenges the Shitepokes. 
photo by Jim Culp ©2000

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