14 July 2017

Killer French Canal Fish

Usually - BIRDS eat FISH. 
Not the other way around. 

Here, the catfish swallow pigeons whole.
The building on the right - used to be the communal laundry. 

I mentioned this in the previous blog post. 
Here's the rest of the story:

It usually happens at the "lavoir", the medieval laundry area on the banks of the canal. 
In the evenings.

Lavoir - scene of impending doom - on the left.

One moment, the pigeons are peacefully taking a drink at the side of the canal.
Maybe even dipping their bird-feet into the water.

The next moment - a streak of silver, one large SPLASH - !
And - no more pigeon.

Not a feather, not a crooked birdie foot.

Nothing but a ripple of water.

No wonder the ducks are up on the path these days.

This fish is BIG.
And really good at catching birds.

The pigeons don't stand a chance.

"Muddy Waters" is the boat beside us. What are the chances?

So we began to look into it. 
Iris - visiting from Berlin with Mikey and Noah - found a video - and an explanation.

Mikey and Iris, waving their baguette from the bridge. Stan on the towpath, rolling up the "utilities". 

Turns out - these are large catfish, and - this is new behavior for them.
In some instances, the catfish comes entirely out of the water. 

Some catfish are successful 80% of the time! 
- One study at the University of Toulouse counted 52 attacks in 72 hours.

Mamma mia! Poor pigeons!

Across from us on the boat, it happens most every evening.
It's a bit disconcerting.
Sometimes we have to rescue the injured bird.

(Sometimes it's simply - R.I.P. pigeon.)

The barge Hatuey comes through. Oblivious to pigeon peril.

The 4 minute background video is - here
(Beware - scenes of death and violence included.)

Meanwhile, happy Bastille Day!

See? We're still learning something new - every day.


  1. Moby Dick lives. Or do you think there are more than one?

    1. Apparently, there are a lot of them. This morning, I saw a large fish go down - looks like the catfish eats other fish, too. Not just birds.