You learn in school about how momma birds feed their chicks by regurgitating food for them.
But somehow the little sparrow pictures I had in my head didn’t do justice to the violence of the whole thing we saw the other day. These baby pied shags are nearly as big as their parents, but not ready to leave the nest yet. They squeak urgently and undulate their heads while mom works to bring up the next course… we could see the muscles in her throat working.
And then she opens her mouth and one of the chicks dives in , shoving its entire head in to root around in mom’s throat while she just sort of goes limp.