Let me introduce you to Big Bird. I was having breakfast and he landed on our "lawn" just
beyond the sliding glass door that leads outside. By staying inside and shooting through
the window I could photograph him (I assume it's a "him") without disturbing him too much.
After delicately stepping around a few gopher mounds and holes, he suddenly struck...and managed
to grasp enough of the little bit of gopher that was exposed to be able to hold onto his prey.
He has the gopher in his bill but it's just a tentative grasp and not positioned correctly to be able
swallow his prey directly.
A quick flick and snap of his bill tosses the gopher into the correct alignment for further processing...
Another snap of the head and the gopher starts his journey down the gullet - the paws of the gopher are still visible.
Completely on-board, but we still have the long throat to negotiate.
The throat feathers fluff out as the bulge in the gullet makes its way down, assisted by stretching and twitching of the neck to aid its passage.
Some more pictures as Big Bird was hunting
You talking to me?
There appears to be some activity over there...
Feel free to admire me!
The Full Frontal shot
This is me in my short-necked configuration.
This is me in my long-necked travelling configuration - I am posing here pretending to be a stork that delivers babies rather than just
a lowly Great Blue Heron.