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Fish for Breakfast

Pied-billed GrebeWhat better way to start off the day than having fresh fish for breakfast.  Now if you didn’t know better, you’d think this little bird might have gotten a little ambitious in catching that rather large perch.  How does he expect to eat that big fish?   It just barely fits in its mouth.  But don’t be fooled.  That little bird is a Pied-billed Grebe.  They aren’t related to ducks, but they are found in water.  Usually by themselves, they tend to hang out in the shallows, often diving down in search of food or just trying to quietly leave without being noticed.  If you keep your eye out, they’ll  surface about 20 feet away.

Occasionally, as is the case here, they will come up with a prized catch such as this perch.  Yes that little bird will eat the entire fish.  It is just a matter of technique.  That fish is only going down one way.  Head first is the first rule.  For obvious reasons, those fish fins and scales just don’t go down very smoothly against the grain.  The second rule is the fish has to be turned sideways-i.e. the bird’s mouth will open up top to bottom only so far, but side to side will expand a great deal more than what you might think.

I took a whole sequence of images from the time the bird surfaced with the fish until the fish was completly swallowed, except for the tips of the tail.  Looking back at the time stamps on the images-40 seconds for the whole process.  Now that is pretty impressive.

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