Padre Island Wildlife

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The best show on North Padre Island isn’t in a night club, or in a playhouse, but rather right outside by a canal that’s part of Laguna Madre. I suppose that this is a relative opinion, as some people don’t care much for nature or the out-of-doors. However, for those of you who love watching nature, you may find this an amusing story and will perhaps be inspired to look for such comedy in your own backyard. Just this morning I stopped at the Whataburger on North Padre Island for breakfast. For those of you who don’t know, Whataburger is a fast food chain that’s primarily located in Texas, and was started in Corpus Christi. They have fairly good food, for a fast food chain, and if you’re looking to grab a quick meal while you’re vacationing on North Padre Island, then you might want to stop there.

So what does the Whataburger on the Island have to do with the best show on the Island? Well, right behind the Whataburger is a canal with some public spots to moor your boat. So, if you happen to be cruising around Laguna Madre and want to get a burger, you could come over and park your boat behind the Whataburger. And of course, where there’s water at the coast, especially with summer coming on, there’s wildlife. And wild it is. I parked behind the Whataburger this morning to eat a biscuit, and lo and behold there is this giant crane-like bird. He had to be at least three feet high and he had a really long neck. He was brown and tan in color, and his feathers were very smooth and neat. The immediacy of him was a little astonishing, he was only about five feet from my car when I first pulled up, although he did retreat a few feet in response to a two ton car pulling up so close to him. After shimmying a few feet away down the wall of the canal, he just sat there eyeing me, and attempting to look superior to all the other creatures. He seemed to be saying “I’m so much better than the rest of you.”

This superior attitude could have been in response to all of the rather mad seagulls that were flying around the canal. When I say mad, I mean stark raving crazy. Some of the seagulls were sitting on the dock posts, but never for very long. The reason being was because another seagull would dive bomb the one sitting on the post, forcing him to move quickly so that the kamikaze seagull could alight on the dock post instead. This happened more than a few times, with one of the seagulls (who apparently wasn’t paying very much attention) almost falling backwards off of the post and into the water. He managed to catch himself just before taking a dunk into the canal and flew away as if nothing had happened.

After some time, the seagulls got tired of kamikaze attacking each other and decided instead to pick on some small birds that were in the field beside the canal. A few of the seagulls flew over to the smaller birds and started chasing them all over the place, until finally the small birds gave up and left. There didn’t seem to be any reason for this, it wasn’t over food or at least it didn’t appear to be. As soon as the little birds left, the seagulls went back to sitting on the dock posts. It was as if they had just run the little birds off for the fun of it.

And all this time, the big crane-like bird just kept sitting where he was sitting, looking super important and ignoring all of the action that was going on around him. Occasionally he’d peer into the water as if he were thinking about catching something, but then he’d go right back to just sitting there, staring off into space. There was a strange dichotomy between his aloofness and the maniacal behavior of the seagulls. They all had the characteristics of people, and I’m quite sure I could probably attach personality traits to each of them. It all made for a very interesting breakfast. So, if you’re ever on Padre Island, take some time from your busy schedule to stop and watch the wildlife. It is a thoroughly enjoyable pastime.