Neither the Cornell bird lab website nor the Audubon website describe the Say’s Phoebe as hunting over water. Wikipedia is more on point; it writes: “The Say’s phoebe also likes to feed just above the water’s surface.” This particular bird takes water hunting a step farther. It doesn’t just snatch an insect a few inches over the surface. It plunges right in. It submerges itself up to its neck. Then, with a few powerful wing strokes, it rises again and flies off to land to rest for a moment. The slow-motion video just below could be sharper but it serves as a document of this bird’s versatility and fearlessness. This is not a water bird and isn’t equipped in any way for swimming. The second video below shows the bird just before its water adventure and then shows the plunge at normal speed.
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