If you’ve ever felt as though you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, you might feel some kinship with this pied-billed grebe, who seems to have caught more than it can swallow.
Field guides note that grebes consume aquatic insects, crustaceans, leeches, tadpoles, mollusks, and ‘small’ fish, but when this grebe popped up in front of me, fish firmly clenched in its bill, I was surprised by the fish’s size: it looked more suited to a heron than a grebe.
On the other hand, the fish wasn’t struggling to get away, perhaps because the grebe already had begun the process of repeatedly pinching the fish with its strong bill, killing it by damaging its internal organs.
What happened next I can’t say, since after only a few seconds the grebe spotted me and dove beneath the surface of the water. I never saw it again, and presume it surfaced in the midst of some nearby reeds, where it could continue dining in peace.