Friday, August 27, 2010

August 21, 2010 Local Birding: Great Blue Heron preys on Pied-billed Grebe

Over the years I've observed Great Blue Herons eating a variety prey including fish, frogs, and even snakes but this event I never imagined. While birding at the "Moodie Drive Pond" we watched a Great Blue Heron attempting to eat a Pied-billed Grebe. After arriving at the pond I was scanning a noticed a juvenile Great Blue Heron hunting along the shoreline. There were a number of Pied-billed Grebes in the same area diving. After scoping most of the pond that had a variety of waterfowl including 20+ Pied-billed Grebe, 12 Ruddy Duck, 1 Redhead and 20+ Ring-necked Duck, I noticed the Great Blue Heron stabbing at the water and a Pied-billed Grebe motionless on the water. The heron picked the grebe up and made a couple of attempts at swallowing it but couldn't get the heavy body in position. This went on for a few minutes as we watched the heron struggle with its victim as a number of Pied-billed Grebes watch. Unfortunately the heron finally walked around the corner and we lost sight of it and will never know the out come. Did it swallow it like a large fish?

Great Blue Heron attempting to eat a Pied-billed Grebe.

A number of grebes gathered and appeared to be interested in what was happening. At least 8 were counted in close proximity.

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