Flying, chirping, brooding and trying to impress the partner are activities that require a lot of energy. For most birds, surviving means introducing a daily amount of food between 5 and 35 percent of their weight, or in some cases much more: hummingbirds can consume 100% nectar. own size!
In this selection of "food" photos taken from the shots submitted to the 2018 edition of the Audubon Photography Awards, the prestigious photographic competition documenting the life of the birds, we can get a better idea of the variety of the bird menu and the extraordinary hunting techniques put in place to get food.Few shows fascinate more than the hunting of the reddish egret (Egretta rufescens): the bird actively chases the preys in the shallow waters of the wet areas, often using the shadow of its wings to attenuate the reflections of the Sun, when it is ready to impale them with beak. These her graceful runs as a hungry predator earned her the nickname of T.rex of the plains. | Tim Timmis / Audubon Photography Awards When the hornbill of Hemprich (Lophoceros hemprichii), a bird of African origin, grabs a bite of food, throws it at the bottom of the throat with a quick and decisive movement of the head. This species is omnivorous and feeds mainly on fruit in areas with dense vegetation, and especially on meat if it lives in the savannah. Due to the keratin-based beak, known on the black market as "red ivory", it is threatened with extinction. | Kevin Vande Vusse / Audubon Photography Awards A diving duck (Mergus serrator) ended up in the clutches of a snow owl (Bubo scandiacus). They are the claws of the bird of prey to kill the preys, breaking their vertebral column with a decisive blow. Most commonly the fate of small rodents touches. | Matthew Booth / Audubon Photography Awards The division of the meal between two American dippers (Cinclus mexicanus): this semi-aquatic passerine feeds on insect larvae found on the bed of the rivers, but also of other small creatures such as minnows, worms, dragonflies and adult mosquitoes, fish eggs. To hunt, walk in the icy water with the submerged head, moving the river stones to flush out the preys; but he also knows how to catch insects by swimming and "flying" underwater waving their wings. In case of need, hunt also through the waterfalls, under which he loves to build his nest. | Joffe Nelson / Audubon Photography Awards Flowers, buds, leaves and fruits are the main items on the menu of the round-billed arboreal finch (Platyspiza crassirostris), one of the birds studied by Charles Darwin on the Galapagos islands. Its robust and curved beak, similar to that of a parrot, is suitable for the soft foods it eats, while a particularly developed digestive system allows it to draw energy from particularly indigestible foods, such as leaves and sprouts. | Michael Sandoz / Audubon Photography Awards Lasts the lives of the runner's prey or roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus): this bird from the south-west of the USA, known for having inspired the character of Beep Beep in the cartoons of Warner Bros., reaches in its unusual land races the 30 km per hour, and yet is able to fly. Especially snakes (also poisonous) and lizards end up in its beak. | Barbara Baird / Audubon Photography Awards Marine invertebrates, fish, insects, other birds, bird eggs: the northern herring gull (Larus argentatus) has a good mouth, although in general it prefers to behave like an opportunistic predator, ie to spare itself from hunting fatigue and let someone else get food for him. For example, it is close to whales or fishing nets, feeding on zooplankton, squid and small fish that escape the first trap, surfacing on the surface. | Christi Herman / Audubon Photography Awards A common gracula (Quiscalus quiscula) could not save itself from the dive of a peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus): in this phase of the hunt, the bird of prey can exceed 320 km per hour - faster than a racing car. The bird is able to hunt even in mid-air, but in this case at decidedly lower speeds (105-110 km per hour), insufficient to capture its most common prey. That is why, when he is hungry, he tries to take himself to an elevated position, of advantage, from which he can launch himself at the maximum of his predatory skills. | Scott Dere / Audubon Photography Awards A three-toed sandpiper (Calidris alba) takes advantage of the supplies that the waves have brought on the sand. Molluscs, crustaceans, marine worms and aquatic insects are his favorite foods: to maximize the catch he puts his beak into the sand up to 2 or 3 cm deep, or waits for the prey to emerge from their burrows on the shore to feed, between the low and high tide. | Trish O'Keefe / Audubon Photography Awards