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Heron Potential Breakfast? ?
While fishing, I recently saw a Great Blue Heron dive and catch quite a large (and colorful!) rainbow trout crosswise in it s bill, you could tell the fish was not happy and fighting hard to prevent becoming the bird’s dinner. It looked like the fish was putting up a real good struggle, but within about 30 seconds the flapping thing was turned face-first and the heron swallowed the entire fish down its long/skinny neck the whole way!!
The trout appeared to be wriggling down that long neck! I thought it was over, but once in the stomach you could see the desperate fish kicking much to the discomfort (it appeared) to the bird. We didn’t stay much longer, I wonder if that was the end for the fish or if it still had a slim chance of survival??? Hard to imagine it would succumb so easily once down..
Does it stand any slim chance of damaging (biting, the wriggling etc.) or even turning around to escape the bird’s elastic insides with that thrashing??
It must be a some potential meal for the bird and I wonder if it handles it bones and all as well?!
- Adam DLv 72 months ago
The fish doesn't survive long, the first chamber of the bird's digestive system douses its food in very low pH stomach acid and various digestive enzymes. A fish breathes by drawing dissolved oxygen from the water through its gills - but in this case, it's now in acid instead of water. It would be the equivalent of a person inhaling their lungs full of stomach acid. Survival would be on the order of seconds
The flopping you were seeing was likely muscle contractions happening after the fish had died, the last neural signals sent as it was being swallowed. Muscle cells can continue to contract for a couple minutes after an animal has died in many cases.
Birds have a digestive chamber called a gizzard that comes next. It is a strong, muscular chamber that is usually aided by grit or small stones. It grinds everything that comes in, bones and all. Essentially, the bird chews after it swallows instead of before.
- BOBBERLv 72 months ago
The odds of that fish surviing is slim to none and slim left town. In no time at all that trout. The trout will be broken down in no time.