When avians dine out, the ponds, sloughs, and prairies of the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge offer a little something for everyone.
Sometimes the choices seem surprising, as when this Boat-tailed Grackle selected a nice crawfish as an appetizer.
Herons and egrets love their fish, of course, and this Great Egret (Ardea alba) found an especially nice one: so fresh that its tail still is flapping in protest against finding itself on the menu.
Without herring to enjoy, this Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) has adapted, landing a small crab for its meal. Like the Whooping Cranes that also feed on crabs, this gull is a winter visitor; by summer, it will have flown northward.
Although omnivorous, these American Coots (Fulica americana) often choose to feed on pondweeds, sedges, and grasses along the bank.
Other dabblers, like this Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) are willing to go off-menu for their wintertime meal.
Despite the abundance of treats, savvy birders know to bring their own snacks from home. There’s no guarantee these birds would be willing to share.