Friday, March 1, 2013

How to Eat a Katydid

In January, I was lucky enough to tag along on a birdwatching tour to Trinidad and Tobago, an island nation off the coast of Venezuela. I went with a group lead by guides Alvaro Jaramillo, of Alvaro's Adventures, and Jay Carlisle from the Idaho Bird Observatory as part of a special fundraising tour for IBO.

Of course I had many great adventures on this trip, but one of my favorite experiences was watching an Ochre-lored Flatbill (Tolmomyias flaviventris, formerly the Yellow-breasted Flycatcher) capture and eat a large katydid. The experience was particularly special since Ochre-lored Flatbill had become my 1,000th life bird just a few days earlier!  And as a brand-new DSLR owner, it was also a great opportunity to practice using my new camera. (As you can see, some images turned out better than others)

Here's what I learned about how to eat a katydid:

Step 1: Search the vegetation carefully for a leaf with legs and a face.
  Step 2: Seize your unsuspecting victim and return to a prominent perch with your prize. Stand there triumphantly. (Shouting "Ta-da!" at this point is optional)
Step 3: Bludgeon the arthropod to death on a sturdy branch.
 Step 4: Continue beating until prey is thoroughly pulverized. Tenderness is key for step 5.
 You will know your meal is ready when a few guts squish out.
Step 5: Swallow. This step may take a few tries. Don't be afraid to cough it back up if the legs don't go down right the first time.
Step 6: Return to your hunting perch to preen and digest
Step 7: Plot your next attack
- Heidi Ware


  1. Thanks for this Heidi.

    I've been having some problems lately and it's in large part due to negligence around step 4.

  2. LOL! This is great. Thanks for a morning chuckle, Heidi. Wonderful photos with your new camera, too!

  3. Wow, great photo story! You have a way with birds, I mean words! Congratulations on your 1,000th bird!

  4. Well done Tammy,fantasic number.
    Hope 1001 comes soon.

  5. Nice photo series. Looks delicious! :-)

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  7. Very educational, Heidi. Shows birds, just like us, don't like their food still struggling in their throat. Great post!