We were giving some friends an afternoon tour of Horseshoe Bay and were driving across the low water crossing where Slick Rock Creek empties into Lake LBJ when I spotted a crane* diving under the water, presumably in pursuit of a fish. Sure enough, he surfaced shortly thereafter with a large silver fish grasped firmly in his beak.
The crane walked slowly over to a shallow water-filled depression in the rocks and dropped the fish, which was still weakly wriggling. The depression was just deep enough to prevent the fish from escaping back to the lake.
The bird stood over the fish for a brief moment, seemingly contemplating his next move (or, perhaps, praying over his next meal).
After another brief pause, he bent down, picked up the fish, and…well, you can imagine what happened next. OK, you don’t have to imagine, because video. You might want to go to full-screen for the playback.
I stripped out the audio from the movie to spare you the exclamations of “yuck!” at the point the fish went down the bird’s gullet and seemed to pause for a last wriggle. That could have just been the crane’s throat muscles at work…yeah, we’ll go with that.
If this has whetted your appetite (no pun intended) for another video of a bird swallowing an impressive meal, try this one from an earlier trip to South Carolina.
*I’ve referred to the bird as a crane, but to be honest, I’m just guessing at that. It does vaguely resemble a sandhill crane but the coloring doesn’t really match. However, the photos and video aren’t sufficiently clear, and I’m not sufficiently knowledgeable, to render a positive ID. Feel free to email me if you have a better idea.