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Flying Over Fenway

Dear Bird Folks,

This may be an odd question, even by your standards. I was at the Red Sox game in Boston a few nights ago and, just after it had gotten dark, I saw this steady line of big birds flying over Fenway Park. I asked the people sitting around me what they were but they didn’t know. Do you have any ideas and why were they flying in the city at night?

Sarah, Plymouth


Really, Sarah,

The people around you didn’t know what the birds were? Even the guy with the 4-foot high stack of Budweiser cups on his lap or the shirtless guy with “Nomar” spray painted on his chest didn’t know? Gee, I’m surprised. Maybe they misunderstood the question.

The birds that you saw were probably black-crowned night herons. I know because I’ve seen them flying over Fenway too. I was just as shocked as you were and started pointing them out to those around me. (I found talking about birds is the best way to annoy those annoying Fenway drunks.) Night herons, just as the name implies, come out to feed at night. And believe it or not, Fenway Park is surrounded by wetlands that offer food for night herons. There is a small colony of night herons that nest on an island in Boston Harbor. Also, in nearby Watertown, there is a place along the Charles River where hundred of night herons roost after they have finished nesting. The birds that you saw have been sleeping all day, waiting for it to get dark, so they can fly out to feed on the fish, frogs and Mafia informants that are in the wetlands near Fenway.

You are my kind of person, Sara. You watch the sky for birds while you are watching the Red Sox play baseball. And all for only $80 a ticket. My dream is to pick a game where the Sox are playing the Baltimore Orioles. That way I can watch the birds on and off the field and then write the whole thing off on my taxes. What a country.