During a recent visit to the Viera Wetlands, I happened across a Pied-billed Grebe that had caught a decent sized meal. Click an image to view larger.
After successfully capturing the beast, he paraded around while waiting for it to expire.
As he began to consume the fish, it became apparent that there might be a small problem.
Now, I’m no expert on such matters, but it seems to me that this fish might be more than a mouthful. A Pied-billed Grebe is only 13 inches long and weight about a pound. Usually you see them with smaller fish, shrimp or crustaceans for their meal.
So he tries again to get the beast down. In fact, he worked hard at this for 15 minutes before I decided I had shot enough frames.
When I left him, he had a forlorn look on his face as he contemplated his next move.
Although I didn’t stay for the conclusion of this epic battle, I’m pretty sure he didn’t get this one down. It isn’t uncommon for birds to swallow more than it seems that they are able to handle. But I have also heard of large fish like this getting stuck halfway down and the bird not being able to expel the prey. When that happens, the bird will likely drown if it is unable to get out of the water or expel the prey. All part of the circle of life. I half expected with all the thrashing this grebe was doing that he would attract a gator. With his attention on getting the prey down, a gator could have easily caught up with him.