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Discussion Starter #1
I have 1-5 Great Blue Herons around me every time I fish. I occasionally give them a small fish and the heads and guts when I field dress at the surf. Recently, two birds got in a fight over a small hardhead and one bit a big chunk out of another. I wonder if it really is in their interest to feed them. Any thoughts?
 

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Pretty sure they fall into the list of animals not to feed. If caught it could be a fine and/or jail time if a habitual offender.
 

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... making them semi-dependent on humans and they are losing their natural fear of people.
A LOT more likely to have a bad interaction at some point as they do get aggressive and are very territorial.
 

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Wow. That wildlife refuge where you like to fish is also a bird sanctuary.

"Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge was established by legislative act in 1980 to protect and preserve rapidly vanishing coastal barrier habitat. The maritime forests, coastal marsh, beaches and open waters of the refuge provide essential habitat for an amazing diversity of birds. The refuge’s strategic location along the flyway of millions of spring and fall migrants, combined with the habitat provided, makes Bon Secour one of the most important refuges in the refuge system".

Those guys and gals in the green trucks will be glad to answer any more questions you have regarding feeding wildlife in the refuge. They are from the government and they are here to help you...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow. That wildlife refuge where you like to fish is also a bird sanctuary.

"Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge was established by legislative act in 1980 to protect and preserve rapidly vanishing coastal barrier habitat. The maritime forests, coastal marsh, beaches and open waters of the refuge provide essential habitat for an amazing diversity of birds. The refuge’s strategic location along the flyway of millions of spring and fall migrants, combined with the habitat provided, makes Bon Secour one of the most important refuges in the refuge system".

Those guys and gals in the green trucks will be glad to answer any more questions you have regarding feeding wildlife in the refuge. They are from the government and they are here to help you...
That is a great suggestion. They come down the Bon Secour every morning in an ATV looking for turtles. They are really nice folks. If I have a brag worthy fish, I show it to them, because they are curious and sometimes have good intel about what they see on the beach. They never criticize or even ask for my license. As you might imagine, the Refuge is the main reason we chose our house in our neighborhood. My back porch is less than 6 feet from the refuge boundary. What a blessing!
 

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Y'all make me feel bad, I cast net minnows all the time and put them in a clear bucket just so my 2 year old can see the herons come up close and snap them up. She loves it!!!
 

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That is a great suggestion. They come down the Bon Secour every morning in an ATV looking for turtles. They are really nice folks. If I have a brag worthy fish, I show it to them, because they are curious and sometimes have good intel about what they see on the beach. They never criticize or even ask for my license. As you might imagine, the Refuge is the main reason we chose our house in our neighborhood. My back porch is less than 6 feet from the refuge boundary. What a blessing!
It is indeed a blessing to live where you do. We used to go down there back in the day when it was a dirt road and stay for days at a time. The old timers would cook the turtle eggs on an open fire and feed the fish guts to the gators. The Herons kept their distance. I never tried a turtle egg, but heard they were some count.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
For those that are interested, I contacted the head of DNR Enforcement for the state of Alabama and he was nice enough to respond. It is not illegal to feed herons. He did not say whether he thought it good practice or not, but it is not illegal.
 

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Guess I missed the Alabama part. I was referring to Florida. But if you have to question if it's a bad thing after a bird got a chuck of meat out of him by another bird.....
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You have a good point. Capt. Hendrix said in a follow up that it is never a good idea to imprint humanity on wild creatures, although he said that it is clear that ship has already sailed with these birds. He said he would not do it.

Of course, the Bon Secour is also a federal agency. I still plan on asking the rangers when I see them. (If it will ever stop raining!)
 
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