"Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day." Mark Twain
Warning: If seeing a Grebe down an adult frog makes you feel queasy, best to move on to another post on this blog, or just stop to enjoy pictures of snow on Mt. Lemmon on the Winter pages.
January 3, 2016. Another great morning at Sweetwater Wetlands birding with some friends. We stopped on one of the decks built over the wetlands, and spotted a Pied-billed Grebe playing with something in the water, which looked at first like seaweed. Closer inspection however showed his item of interest to be breakfast, a frog. I captured well over 100 images, picking the ones below to create the feeding sequence.
Our best guess is that this is a Pied-billed Grebe. They are common in Mexico and the United States. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes them as "part bird, part submarine," using their thick bills to kill and eat a variety of crustaceans, fish, amphibians, insects and other invertebrates. Their legs are attached close to the buttucks and they have lobbed, not webbed, toes, making diving easier. They swallow their own feathers, which protect their intestines from damage from rough swallow parts. They will regurgitate indigestible hard parts.
The Grebe tossed the frog around, made one early pass at swallowing it, then began feeding in earnest. The following images are captured in sequence. All photos shot with Canon 6D, Sigma 150-600 contemporary, at 600 mm. Post production processing in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
Best wishes for a Happy New Year!
Henry Johnson, photographer and author of this site. For more detail, see About