In the bill


When not migrating or sleeping, a bird spends most of its time looking for food. Yet, of all the pictures taken of birds, it is relatively uncommon to see a bird with something eatable in its bill. There are a number of reasons for this, but perhaps the major one is that once food is in the bill, it is so quickly consumed that it is barely noticeable for having being there.

I like to catch pictures of birds with food in their bills. It isn’t easy. Here are four pictures taken over the last little while.

Almost unnoticed is a small beetle in the bill of a Red-breasted Nuthatch. The bird had found it hibernating in the bark of a Douglas fir.

A Dipper has found perhaps three fertilized Kokanee eggs in a stream.

Seeing a swan with something dangling from is bill (other than water) is unusual, because the aquatic weed is usually consumed underwater where it is found.

A Herring Gull eats a fish. In this case, the gull takes some time trying to position the fish as it moves about the water. However, a shot showing the fish’s eye is harder to get. Photo by Cynthia Fraser.


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3 Responses to In the bill

  1. Douglas Robert Sly says:

    Adding the demotic cousin synonyms to your endearing comestible, we now have edible, and even eatable which completes the hierarchy of the Ancien Régime and the three estates made up of the first, the clergy, the second, the nobility, and the third, the sans-culottes.

  2. Karen Pidcock says:

    Terrific photos…thanks so much!

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