The moment a mother loses a desperate battle to save her duckling from the jaws of a heron

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As a duck, trying to battle with a heron and force it to give up its quarry was always going to be a difficult task.

But as a mother, animals and humans will do anything for their offspring which is why this bird refused to let the heron fly off with one of her own without a fight.

These amazing pictures show, frame by frame, how the heron swooped on the duck and her family as they swam near Bray Harbour in County Wicklow.

Hovering: The heron spots her target and hones in for the kill
Escape: The mother duck frantically tries to lead her offspring to safety
Trapped: The duckling has no chance and is caught in the heron’s bill
Chaos: The heron stands tall as the family of ducks are left flailing in the water
Stare: The heron and the duck lock eyes as it holds the duckling aloft
Distraction: The mother duck attempts to stop the heron flying away
Desperate: She tries to fly off in pursuit

The heron, believed to be local to the seaside town 20km south of Dublin, plucked the duckling from the water but as it took flight, the mother duck set off in pursuit.

Unfortunately, her mission ended in tragedy when the predator ate up the bird whole before her very eyes.

Quick meal: With one gulp, the duckling is gone

Herons usually eat mainly fish or frogs and only occasionally bolster their meals with small mammals or birds. They are wading birds.

With a wingspan of between 7 to 8ft, they are terrifying to smaller animals and birds when in full flight.

It is also an exceptionally patient creature. That can stand still for long periods, stalking their prey before striking with their formidable speak-like bills.
There are 14,200 nests of herons in the UK but they are usually solitary birds, or sometimes found in pairs.

They feed along the edge of wetlands or by the coast.



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