Related: Environment

Darwin Was Right!


Darwin was right.

The strong eat the weak for lunch.

At least that’s true in the battle between small fish and birds with large beaks.  But there’s a point for all of us in that photo on top — a wood stork enjoying a late afternoon snack along an inlet near Vero Beach in Florida.

I’ve been down here for several days for our annual meetings with alumnae on both coasts, and we’ve had a wonderful time!  I never tire of telling the stories of how Trinity has grown and flourished — once a small fish in a large and scary sea of big universities in Washington, Trinity today is strong and thriving with terrific students and faculty, and great ambition for the future.

Since our alumnae luncheons in Florida take place in towns on both sides of the state, I have spent some time driving from place to place, and along the way I occasionally stopped to see the abundant wildlife.  Of course, my trusty long lens is always nearby (it’s well worth the trouble to pack it, there’s so much wildlife to see just about everywhere I look while driving around!)

Pelicans were much in the news last year as among the species gravely harmed in the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Little was told at that time of the even larger threats to pelicans in the last century.  Near Vero Beach is a habitat now known as Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge.

This was actually the very first NWR in the United States, established with the leadership of Theodore Roosevelt who was a champion of conservation.  When Roosevelt first visited Pelican Bay, the place teemed with the big birds and many other waterfowl.  But hunting for bird feathers in the early part of the 20th Century decimated the population, and land development further destroyed the habitat.

But thanks to a concerted effort to restore the habitat and protect wildlife in Florida, pelicans, wood storks, and other waterfowl are making a small comeback.

Most birds spend their entire day looking for food, eating, or resting.  The great blue heron, below, appeared to be resting in the shade of a large lilypad…

But there was a sudden pounce, followed by a triumphant emergence:

Nobody looked more surprised than the lunch entree…

Meanwhile, the wood stork, having snatched that fish away from the pelicans, finished her tasty snack and settled down for an afternoon in the sun.

Evil wood stork:

Cute pelican:

Never, ever, turn your back…

Remember: Darwin was right!

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One Response to Darwin Was Right!

  1. Ann Pauley says:

    President McGuire: Your photos are amazing. You have such a keen eye for detail and natural beauty, and great patience as you snap photos of the birds just as they grab the fish out of the water!

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: