The Patented Anhinga Fish Flip!
Earlier today I was watching this anhinga fishing in the marsh pond. The anhinga is one of my all time favorite bird actions to observe and photograph.
Anhingas swim under water and spear the fish on the end of their very sharp bills, and then they flip the fish off launching it airborne and catching it head first on the way down. These incredibly skilled and athletic birds never fail to amaze and entertain!
Around and around and around and down we go. They gotta be good…imagine if the fish goes in tail first…ouch.
I figure having one of those fin fish go down tail first would not be good for the bird. Could even kill it I suppose.
Exactly what I was thinking. Stuff like that which we have to think carefully about these guys do by instinct and pretty much never fail..
I continue to be amazed they get it right as often as they do, but nature is smarter then people a lot I think. 🙂
Remarkable work, Phil. They really are fascinating birds
Thanks very much. The anhingas and black skimmers are my favorite bird action to watch and photograph. They can really put on a show.
Amazing sequence of shots of a really talented bird. I am in awe of your ability to maintain a sharp focus on such a narrow object as the anhinga’s head and neck.
Thanks a million Mike I really appreciate the kind comments.
I probably miss more shots of these guys then any other bird. They are fast, dark colored, small heads and skinny necks and shake all around when they catch a fish… tough to lock focus sometimes.
That’s great. Do they ever miss?
Hey thanks! Funny you should mention that about missing. There were two anhingas out this morning. This female and one male. I saw the male catch two fish, flip them up, and promptly lose them both. Then he jumped out of the water and just quit. I couldn’t believe it. At one point they were both back in fishing but I went with the percentages and stayed keyed in on the girl, she was on fire.
You got to go with one on fire. Interesting.
Oh yeah, gotta go with the hot hand!
I bet he could toss pizza dough, too. 🙂 What a great series! It makes sense he’d want his snack to go down the smooth way. 🙂
It is a talented bird! Down head first is definitely the way to go.
They really have the neck for it! Did you ever see them get too big a fish to go down that skinny neck? Love your photos, Phil, action in everyone.
I have seen one swallow either a particularly large fish, or one that didn’t exactly go down the right way and then struggle with it for a while. It does not look comfortable.
When do we get to see your M&M routine to imitate this amazing trick?
I’m planning some large arena dates for that performance, I’ll keep ya posted.
These are clever birds! Nature really is amazing! (So is that set of pics, Phil!)
Yes indeed, nature is quite amazing! These birds put on one heck of a show too!
I feel bad for the little fish…he’s a cute little guy 🙂 Great captures Phil.
Yeah I feel bad for the fish too, but so it goes in nature. Glad you liked these pics!
I’m not even going to mention the fish, Phil. That Anhinga is very good at this. I can see he’s been practising. 🙂
Perfect timing on your part to get this wonderful sequence.
He’s the Willie Mays of the estuary!
I am amazed 🙂
That is a stunning sequence, Phil. Really beautiful images on their own – but together they are tell a story of nature’s wonder.
outstandingly, phenomenally, brilliantly simply not enough superlatives Phil the first is cracking but the last is beyond description – Tweeted
Stunning sequence of actions! Of course stunning, because of your photos and the addicts of the Anhinga! 😉