Next time you grab a table at the new Patio at Café Brauer Patio, be sure to look over the railing at the fish that are claiming their own space at Nature Boardwalk. The relatively shallow, sunny area right in front of the patio is an excellent area for sunfish (bluegill and pumpkinseed fish) to build their nests, and they’re doing just that.
A male pumpkinseed defending his nest.
Male fish make a nest by using their fins to fan out a shallow circular depression. Pumpkinseed and bluegill are colonial nesters, meaning you are likely to see several of their nests clustered together. Females are attracted to the nests, and the mating pair will swim above the nest as the female releases eggs and the male releases sperm.
Sunfish nest in a colony right outside the Patio at Café Brauer.
One female can lay several thousand eggs, so be sure to look for lots of tiny baby fish, in addition to the nests, when you come to visit Nature Boardwalk!