Letters to the Editor

 Vol. 10, No. 38

September 19-25, 2002

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There Are Reasons Fish Fall from the Sky

Dear Bay Weekly:
In your Sept. 12-18 issue [Vol. X, No. 37], Kathy Winters of St. Leonard ponders the how and the why of a fish that fell from the sky several miles from the Chesapeake Bay. Why did it “go plop” on the roof of Chesapeake’s Bounty when she was standing nearby?

Kathy, please be assured that it was not a flying fish. In this area, it is not unusual for unwanted fish to drop in unannounced. The waterman who said that a fish hawk (osprey) was the delivery method was probably correct. However, it may also have been an eagle.

We live on the shore of the Bay above Parkers Creek. Last autumn, while I was walking in the yard, a large bluefish plopped down next to me, missing my head by only a few feet. Startled, I glanced up to see an osprey being harassed by crows. The osprey lightened its load to either fight or speed away.

I have also seen an eagle release its catch when being dive-bombed by crows. Maybe the bird that flew inland over Chesapeake’s Bounty was an eagle that was trying to avoid marauding crows. Maybe it wanted to see if it could hit the crab bucket where you were standing.

So what can you do to avoid being plopped on? One suggestion is to listen for raucous crows approaching and be prepared to take cover without looking upward.

— Dale Graff, Prince Frederick

But Why Faceless Fish?

Dear Bay Weekly:
I was reading through the editorials and saw Kathy Winters’ letter. I was amazed to see someone had a similar question as me!

Last weekend I was exploring Maryland and took a trip down to Calvert Cliffs. Walking along the trail, I was pleased and surprised by the beautiful hike and the enchanting wetlands. However, when I reached the beach — excited to look for my very own fossils — I almost fainted with the stench. Strewn along the short beach were dozens of rotting, faceless fish. My friend and I could not figure why they were there. We didn’t think an animal did it; only the faces were gone. (Why would any animal eat only the faces?) We couldn’t think of any industry that would do it. I don’t know of any industries that depend on fish faces for a profit. We asked ourselves why no other animal was eating them. Were they poisonous?

We perused the cliffs and the broken rock below for fossils, breathing through our mouths, sidestepping the dead faceless fish. Eventually we had to leave. It was getting late, and the fish stank too badly to stay.

If you can find the answer, I would really like to know where the faceless fish are coming from.

— Rebecca Larson, Glen Burnie

Fox Interviewed Just in Time

Dear Bay Weekly:
Thanks for this timely piece on Maryland’s effective and forward-looking Secretary of Natural Resources [Bay Weekly Interview, Vol. X, No 37, Sept. 12]. Your interview came exactly, tonight, when I’m charged with writing to former senator Bernie Fowler on the preservation of a valuable waterfront parcel in Southern Maryland. The content was right on the mark and fit well with the information that I needed to give Bernie in his effort.

— Kent Mountford Ph.D., Lusby, Estuarine Ecologist and Environmental Historian

We welcome your letters and opinions. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to us at editor@bayweekly.com.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly