Hearing the familiar sound of running water, Nick the lanky Blue Heron departed from his nightly flight around the greenway for a detour to a neighborhood backyard pond. Using his keen night vision, Nick scoped the area in search of the source of the waterfall sound pouring beneath the trees. Finding an old bath tub, Nick walked along the brick walkway. Glancing over the side, this stately figure was hunting for a late night snack or a meal to take back to his newborn nestlings. Finding a small Chinese Koi, he quietly stepped over the side and waited until the unsuspecting pet resumed his swimming habits. At last, his desire for “Chinese carry out” was satisfied.
At least I think this is what happened!
A few days ago, I looked over the side of the old bathtub I had made into a fountain, realizing one of my two Koi was missing. Perplexed, I looked around for evidence as to the demise of one of my pets.
Before I detail my investigative skills, some background information will set the stage.
For a long time, I wanted to display an old claw-foot tub removed from an old house where I had lived and operated Click! for a number of years. First, I created an eclectic planter for the lobby of my new office, much to the chagrin of my traditional business landlord.
My employee, Clay, and I tried our hand at creating an aquarium with a couple of live bass caught by Clay at a local pond. We failed for a number of reasons including the territorial nature of fish and the leaping abilities of aquatic vertibrae.
The tub sat for awhile, becoming the topic of jokes by friends and family over my vision to make it become a backyard statuary. I finally painted the tub last summer, bought a pump and plumbed an old galvanized pipe creating an antigue looking fountain. Completing my “dream”, I added three Koi and a number of potted plants and floating lettuce.
My fountain was a success and we enjoyed it through the summer and fall seasons, (until the fish died.) One made a flying leap and the other two sufficated while I was changing the water and cleaning the gravel in the tub (not enough O2, I guess.)
Undaunted, I went with my granddaughter, Natalie to buy fish this summer. We arrived with two, a large (3.5″) and a small one chosen by Natalie. They were named Natalie and Poppie by the original choosers. Brenden has yet to buy “Brenden” and it may be late for this year.
Thus we arrive at the case of the missing Koi, “Poppie.” Combing the sight for any evidence of a failed escape, the only item of interest was a small blue feather. It looked surprisingly similar to feathers of Blue Herons I have photographed down in the greenway.
This brought a recollection of my laughter when I asked the salesman last year if I needed to know anything specifically about raising Koi in the backyard. His response was, “They’ll do fine if the herons don’t eat them.” I remember walking away and thinking how dumb to think a large bird like a heron would be able to discover my fountain and be able to find a three inch Koi less than twelve feet from my screened porch in a shaded area.
Well, the Koi disappeared and little Natalie continues to hide most of the time.
“Come back to my yard again, Nick, and I’ll blow your brains out!”