Tuesday, February 1, 2011

His eyes are bigger than his stomach

While birding some wetlands in Florida a few days ago with Vince Lucas, we happened across this scene. Sorry the shot quality is not the greatest - the heron was some ways off - but you get the picture.

This Great Blue Heron had nabbed a walking catfish (we think that's what it is) that is probably a bit big to slide smoothly down the old gullet. We didn't have time to stick around long enough to see how this drama played out. I can't imagine the heron was able to make a meal of it, but it does illustrate the inherent dangers of moseying too close to one of these primitive dagger-beaks if you are lesser in stature.



Dave said...

We spotted a GBH trying to down a Muskrat last summer. We watched for over an hour and he never did get it down!
I wonder if this is the same numbskull....

Anonymous said...

I watched one attempt to swallow a large carp for about half an hour at Sandy Ridge Reservation near Cleveland in 2008. It could just about get it down, but it would get stuck in it's throat. The heron would spit it out and try again. After about 10 tries it dropped the fish and flew off.

BTW, thanks for writing your blog, it is great reading and very useful to me for ideas on good places to visit to see birds and other wildlife.


flux biota. said...

hope the catfish doesn't poke the poor, hungry guy.

Buford Nature said...

I once saw a cormorant break off the barbed spines from a catfish it caught by rubbing the spines against an oyster bar. Perhaps the GBH knows this trick?

Jim McCormac said...

Interesting observations. These GBH's have quite a varied diet, and nothing that comes within striking range is safe, it seems.

I've wondered, too, about catfish barbs. Most all of them have really rigid spinelike pectoral barbs, and swallowing something like that the wrong way could be a fatal mistake.

Cathy said...

What a catch!

The pix AND the fish.

I always have to turn away when, in the spring, at Magee Marsh - these creatures are swallowing frogs along the drive.

It's a jungle out there.