Air Date: Week of August 26, 2022
Three yellow-billed storks hunt cooperatively in the Olare Orok River during a prolonged drought in the Maasai Mara. (Photo: © Mark Seth Lender)
Cooperative hunting among birds is rare but Living on Earth’s Explorer in Residence, Mark Seth Lender, shares an unexpected instance among yellow-billed storks in Kenya.
Note: This segment starts at 12:04 in the above podcast file.
Olare Orok River, Maasai Mara© 2022
Mark Seth Lender
All Rights Reserved
CURWOOD: Cooperative hunting among birds is rare. Explorer in Residence Mark Seth Lender shares an unexpected instance, perhaps resulting from the prolonged drought in the Maasai Mara.
LENDER: The river is no longer a river but a rip, in the fabric. Where once rapids tore through, nothing flows. Puddles scattered in potholes, here; there. Water, disconnected from itself. Stagnant. The color of decay. Which is not a color but its absence.
The sun goes hurtling down.
The plains where the monsoon should have come and gone by now still wait.
Only night and day arrive on time, relentless.
Life concentrates like salt...
Well after sundown, in defiance of common sense, a family of yellow-billed storks are having a party. Four in number like beats to the measure stepping to a rhythm so obvious you can hear it with your eyes –
Ching! Ching! Ching!
Their half-open bills stir water. Lead left with a shoulder as heads turn right, right with a shoulder as heads turn left, step over step, over step over step, over –
And right –
Nearby Blue Heron stands. Absent a partner? These steps, those moves? He will never be their master. He flies away.
While yellow-billed storks,
From pool –
To pool -
- KA-PLUVE! -
- KA-PLOOSH! -
Down the hatch!
Turn out the lights,
Lock the latch.
In the Season of Want
All want Relief.
Some gonna Hunger,
Others gonna Feast.
Ching! Ching! Ching!
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