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In California, there is a spectacle played out each winter near Pt. Reyes at 
a spot called Waldo's Dike.    The astronomical highest tides flood a large 
marsh to the point at which the resident rails need to tread water, and 
literally hundreds of birders line the dike to watch the Feast of the Great 
Egrets.

The Main Course?    Black Rails.    Really.

The egrets prowl the march, nabbing the rails as they flee, and sometimes 
even chase them down in flight!    Rich Stallcup has seen well over 100 
Black Rails meet their demise this way, and I also saw a Sora caught and 
eaten in Jan. '06.    While BRs are usually swallowed quickly, the Sora took 
a while to go down the chute.   I even have distant photos.

Much like Romans at the Coliseum, the birders go "Ooohhh" when a BR tries to 
escape, "Yayyyyyy" when it does, and "Awwwwww" when it doesn't.   In about 
30 - 45 minutes, the tides reverse, and the show is over for another year.

Where's Attenborough when you need him?

Clay Taylor
Moodus, CT
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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, March 02, 2007 2:56 AM
Subject: [FLBIRDS] Egrets eating other birds


> Twice in the last 2 weeks I have seen an egret eating
> an adult bird of another species.
>
> Two weeks ago I saw a Cattle Egret eating what
> appeared to be a swallow.  This was at STA-5, an
> inland area with a lot of Tree Swallows and
> Rough-winged Swallows.
>
> Yesterday, near Belle Glade, I saw a Great Egret
> eating what appeared to be an adult female Red-winged
> Blackbird.
>
> I do not know if either egret killed the bird they
> were eating.  My impression was that the Red-winged
> Blackbird had died very recently.  In both cases the
> egret flew off with the food in its bill as I
> approached.
>
> I have not read much about the diet of egrets and
> herons, but I have heard of egrets or herons eating
> ducklings and nestlings.  The following sentence is
> from the BNA Cattle Egret species account:
>
> "During migration, may forage along marine shorelines,
> especially for dead or exhausted small migrant birds
> (Cunningham 1965) or capture exhausted small migrants
> on marine oil rigs (Myers and Wallace 2003)."
>
> Although, an adult swallow at STA-5 would not appear
> to fall into those categories.
>
> Fogarty and Hetrick (1973) studied the summer diet of
> Cattle Egrets in North Central Florida and did not
> report finding avian prey items.
>
> In the BNA Great Egret species account birds are not
> mentioned among the prey items eaten.  Although I did
> not check any of the references cited for additional
> details.
>
> I did not intend to post about the Cattle Egret until
> I saw the Great Egret yesterday doing something
> similar.
>
>
> Mark W. Miller
>
> Plantation, Florida
>
>
>
>
> ____________________________________________________________________________________
> Food fight? Enjoy some healthy debate
> in the Yahoo! Answers Food & Drink Q&A.
> http://answers.yahoo.com/dir/?link=list&sid=396545367
>
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