Dunlin attempting to eat a sand shrimp - May 8, 2017

A Dunlin, feeding on the upper beach at Bottle Beach State Park,
captures a sand shrimp and attempts to eat it

May 8, 2017

There is such a thing as biting off more than you can chew. Or, at least biting off more than you can swallow. In the photo above, the Dunlin in the front has just captured a small sand shrimp from the sandy beach. The other Dunlin thinks it looks like a mighty fine morsel and pursues the mighty hunter. 

After several evasive maneuvers on the beach, the first Dunlin manages to elude the pursuing shorebird. The Dunlin settles in to consume its prey. Only one problem... the shrimp is too large to go down easily. The Dunlin squeezes the sand shrimp in its beak, to break its exoskeleton, so the shrimp will bend. Next, the Dunlin waves the morsel back and forth in its beak, hopefully breaking it up more. Finally, the sand shrimp is dropped on the beach repeatedly and picked up to crack the shell in one more spot. 

When last seen, the Dunlin was spiriting its morsel away, uneaten. 

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