The Last Three Minutes

Snowy Egret

In the last three minutes of its life, this fish was powerless.  The beak of a Snowy Egret came out of nowhere and tore it out of the water.  The bird had already passed the spot where this fish swam, and the fish may have thought the danger was past.  But the bird suddenly lunged backward, as if it had eyes in the back of its head, and struck.  This was a bigger fish by far than the inch-long small fry that the bird usually caught.  But the fish had no chance.  The bird squeezed it, dropped it, caught it again, squeezed it some more, lined it up for swallowing, dropped it again into the water as if it might escape, but instantly caught it again, squeezed it, and repeated this game until the bird was quite ready.  Then the bird opened its gullet and swallowed the fish whole, still in some part alive, head first.  The bird then twice rinsed its beak and, without celebration, continued its hunt in the shallow waters of the North Basin.  Watch it here on YouTube in case the embed box below doesn’t work (YouTube problem).

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