While out doing bird surveys for the Minnesota DNR the other day, I came upon a bizarre scene. Something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention and I put the truck in reverse. Raising my binoculars, I saw a baby Brown Thrasher trying to swallow a foot-long Garter Snake! Obviously mom had presented this newly-fledged baby bird with the meal and the fledgling accepted. Only problem was that this gift was a little too generous. I laid in the dirt and watched and took photos and video. Then, amazingly, mom returned and tried to stuff more food down the young one’s gullet! Not going to happen!

Now I had a moral and ethical dilemna…Do I help the baby bird and try and remove or cut the snake for it? Or is that not helping at all? Will the baby eventually be able to get the entire snake down? Or will it die trying? I wish I could tell you the outcome of this mini-drama, but I can’t. Usually I do not interfere with nature…Nature takes its course and I can live with that. And that is what I did today. I really felt that the baby would eventually get the snake down and so I left after about 20 minutes…Plus, mom was getting stressed…And I had a job to do! But I felt excited to have witnessed a rare event.

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