Or, lessons in how to eat a fish.
Katherine and I found ourselves at Antonelli Pond recently.
We saw an adult Pied-billed Grebe and three juveniles swimming near the farther shore. (Of course. It’s always the farther shore.) “I think the adult has something in its bill,” Katherine said.
We immediately walked around the pond to see if we could get a better view.
The Grebes had drifted closer to the shore. We saw that an adult Grebe was giving a fish to one of its babies.
The fish was larger than the juvenile’s head! How was it going to handle this?
Well, the juvenile couldn’t handle the fish. It dropped the fish and the adult had to retrieve it before the fish recovered its wits enough to swim away. This was repeated many times during the next several minutes. Now I could see why the adult stayed so close.
The juvenile took another shot at eating the fish.
Then a second juvenile swam near. If its sibling was not going to eat the fish, this one wanted it.
The young Grebe thought he’d got it (in more ways than one). Its sibling hoped it was mistaken.
The Grebe tried a new technique: let gravity do its work. The sibling sighed. (Really!)
It took more than eight minutes — and a very patient adult Grebe — but the juvenile swallowed a fish almost bigger than his throat. Actually, until this point, there was some debate in my mind about whether the fish was bigger than the juvenile’s throat. 😂
A happy day for the Grebe family.
Not for everyone, though.
Somewhere, in the depths of the pond, however, a fish is looking around. “Harry, where’d you go?”