Friday, October 4, 2013

Do not attempt this at home

We have a whole lot of bird baths in our Wildscape. Yesterday, I decided I should completely empty out several ones with deep basins. The reason being, I could see mosquito larva wiggling around at the bottom. Not good. Time to dump! 
Then I had the most clever idea ever
Why not scoop out one of my gambusia (minnows) from the stock tank pond, put the fish in a bird bath with wigglers, and let the little guy feast for a bit? Oh, yes, great idea! Fun, too! So I ran into the house and found a Styrofoam cup. Perfect.
Right away, I caught a minnow in the cup. Carefully, I poured him into the bird bath. Oh, yeah, he went after a big ol' wiggler right away! In fact, he couldn't gulp it down fast enough. The insect larvae hung out of his mouth until finally disappearing. The minnow snagged a few more, then I caught him back in the cup and returned him to the tank.

I bet one of my big minnows would eat a ton, I thought. So I fished for one and accidentally caught a smaller minnow, too. Carefully, I poured the pair into the bird bath. For a time, the big one circled around with the smaller one in tow. Both nibbled at the sides. Go to the bottom, I thought, that's where all the wigglers are. Go to the bottom... Then all of a sudden...

I was stunned!

"Oh, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," I exclaimed while I very carefully searched the leaf debris and branches of the nearby Mexican oregano, the direction in which I'd seen her fly by. "I'm so sorry!" I said as I kept looking and looking. Finally, I spotted the poor fish, floundering under the oregano. I grabbed the cup and scooped up some water from the bird bath.... 
WHERE WAS THE OTHER ONE? The second fish was gone, too!

"Oh, I'm so sorry, guys! I'll never do this again! I'm so sorry!"

Quickly, I rescued the big minnow and returned her to the stock tank. How was I ever going to find the smaller fish? I had NO clue which direction it had flipped out. Carefully, I walked on stepping stones around the other side of the bird bath and searched the leaf debris.  
I'm never going to find that fish. It's going to die, and it's going to be all my fault.
I felt terrible.
Then I spotted it! There atop some brown leaves, the little fish floundered just a bit. Quickly, I scooped it up in the cup and added some water. Then I poured the little guy back into the tank. It barely moved. But at least it wasn't floating. Yet.

"I'm so sorry!"

For a time, ALL the minnows in the tank disappeared. I guess news got around fast about what had happened. In the meantime, I confessed what I'd done to James, who was working on his patio project on the other side of the yard. I also kept checking the tank. Within an hour, more and more minnows began to resurface. Relief!

"My fish are speaking to me again!" I hollered at James. He waved back.

Sadly, my big minnow bears the whitish bruises of the undeserved ordeal I put her through in the outside world. The little minnow can barely move its pectoral fins. But as far as I know, they're both still alive.
As for me, I've made a mental note to myself: No more bright ideas involving minnows and bird baths. Ever.

UPDATE OCTOBER 15, 2013–I hate to report that I found a dead gambusia floating at the top of the pond this morning. It was one of my two large females, more than likely the one I nearly killed. Poor fish. Dumb me. RIP.

1 comment:

Rock rose said...

Time to buy some mosquito dunks. They are harmless to birds and fish.

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