Tag Archives: Feeding

Big Meal for GBH Chick

Great Blue Heron chicks have started to hatch around the rookery and Tuesday I spotted one in a high nest sticking his head up.

The first few days the adults will tear food apart and give it to their chicks. As the chicks grow, which happens pretty quickly, the adult dangles food in front of the chicks encouraging them to grab their own meal.

Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog
Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog

Either this chick couldn’t figure out how to get a bite of frog or wasn’t hungry, but after a minute or so the chick lost his chance.

Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog
Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog

It took a minute or so of concentrated effort, but the adult ate the frog in one bite.

Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog
Great Blue Heron Adult and Chick, with Frog

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker All In

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are named for their behavior of drilling small  holes in trees then drinking the sap that runs into the wells. They get most of their food that way but also feed on insects they find under tree bark.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

I’ve seen them peck at bark, mostly on the rough-barked trees and was surprised to see this one bobbing into a tree cavity. He was just about disappearing from my view as he reached in.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

I didn’t see what, if anything, the Sapsucker was finding, but he kept at it for longer than I watched.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Turtle, It’s What’s For Lunch

I saw this Red-shouldered Hawk standing on the ground at the side of a pond and approached slowly. Other times I’ve seen them do this the bird was squeezing his next meal, but I didn’t see any food here.

Red-shouldered Hawk with Turtle
Red-shouldered Hawk with Turtle

Afterwards, when I zoomed in on what I thought was a tree root or Cypress knee, it turned out to be a turtle standing on its end.

Who knew a Red-shouldered Hawk could lift so much?He didn’t struggle at all and disappeared into the woods with his catch

Red-shouldered Hawk with Turtle
Red-shouldered Hawk with Turtle

I don’t know what made the hawk take off; I was standing still and the only human in view.

These were taken with the Sony Alpha 6500 which uses an electronic viewfinder, not the best arrangement for images of birds in flight due to the lag time.

Sony Alpha 6500, Sony 55-210 mm, at 210 mm.

Forster’s Tern

I’ve watched several Forster’s Terns the last few times I’ve been to the rice field impoundment. They are incredibly acrobatic in flight, twisting and turning, then swooping down to the water to go after small fish.

Forster's Tern
Forster’s Tern

They are quite striking birds, even in non-breeding plumage. When they’ve make the turn and loop back for another run at the pond is the best opportunity to photograph them.

Forster's Tern
Forster’s Tern

And did I mention they are fast? This is the best I got this day for a dive.

Forster's Tern
Forster’s Tern

If they pick up a small fish with their feet they quickly pass it to their mouth and down the hatch it goes.

Forster's Tern
Forster’s Tern

American White Pelicans Feeding

Groups of White Pelicans tend to stick together when they feed, paddling along slowly and scooping up fish.

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans

No crazy diving antics like the Brown Pelicans for the White Pelicans, but they look just as goofy.

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans

This group followed the edge of the marsh reeds, which doesn’t make an attractive image now that the vegetation has died back, but probably the fish like to be around the stems.

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans

These two kept going making a nice ripple in the water while the rest of the group turned back.

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans