These two chicks are older than the four from last night’s post, where I described how the adult regurgitates the food. It’s a little weird the second time you see it, too. These chicks were a bigger target for me and I had a much better vantage point to see the feeding action.
Some feathers are starting to grow on the chicks’ necks, making them look more appealing and bird-like.
Anhinga can swallow very large fish, much bigger than their heads. You can see here the flexibility of their jaw.
The adult only fed the one chick then moved out of their reach.
Anhingas feed their chicks a little differently than the herons and egrets and it’s a little weird the first time you see it: the young stick their beaks down the adult’s throat to get the regurgitated food.
Like the herons, the young Anhinga will pull on the adults beak to start the feeding process. This adult had four young in the nest and the pushiest gets the most food.
Below you can see the featherless necks of the chicks and how the pouch at the corner of their jaw. It appears the one on the left is bleeding from a scratch–small wonder with all those sharp beaks.
I had changed positions trying to get a better view but they all kept dipping down below the branches.
Usually Anhinga eat the fish they catch while they are swimming, often executing some intricate fish flipping maneuvers to get the fish in position to swallow head first. Occasionally, I have seen them get out of the water and beat the fish for awhile, although I’m not sure why. The fish looks dead with that sharp beak speared through it. Sometimes it appears the fish is stuck and at this time of year they may be on their way to the nest with it. No matter the reason, it is an activity that comes with risk.
This Anhinga swam thirty or forty feet to reach an alligator platform, then flapped and pulled himself out of the water.
Wack, wack, wack the fish.
Toss it into position.
Over the side it went, never to be seen by this bird again.
Anhingas fish by swimming underwater and spearing their prey. They then need to air dry and are often seen with their wings fully spread. This one must have young to feed as he bypassed the usual process.
After he pulled himself out of the water, he took very little time to dry. He held the fish in his beak and worked his way up the stick.
Once airborne he had to really work it to get to the island about 50 feet (16 meters) away. I wasn’t sure he was going to make it; twice his wings dipped into the water.
He did make it, and disappeared into the island underbrush with his catch.
The first Barred Owl from my previous post appeared to be just hanging out on a limb above a small pond, maybe nodding off.
All the while he was watching the water below. He dropped down and out of my sight. I circled around the pond to discover the Owl posing nicely at the base of a Cypress tree. I didn’t see the frog until I was developing the images.
The presence of the frog explained the behavior of the mate, who had moved to a branch above, hunched over watching, and was making clucking noises. After a few minutes of this they flew off together, I hope to share the frog.
I stopped to watch this Great Blue Heron hunting in the marshy area just off the rookery, hoping for some action images. He was quite close to the edge, there were no reeds between us to interfere, and the sun was providing nice light on the patch of marsh. All we needed was the food component.
The Heron worked deliberately and slowly from left to right, intently watching for movement, but found nothing worth nabbing.
Keeping one eye on him, my attention wandered. Still nothing. After about a half hour I moved on. I wondered if he should, too.