NEW YORK - A video showing a great blue heron devouring a rat in a pond in Central Park encapsulates the famous park's beauty and grittiness.
The bird scarfed down the dripping-wet rodent on Sunday, Sept. 5, according to David Barrett, who posted the video on his Twitter account @BirdCentralPark.
"Great Blue Herons eat plenty of fish, but they won't pass up a meaty and filling New York City rat," Barrett tweeted. "It took the Great Blue Heron only a few seconds to lift the rat, once killed, out of the water and swallow it."
Central Park attracts more than 200 species of birds every year, according to the Central Park Conservancy, making the urban oasis a popular destination for bird-watchers.
The great blue heron is the largest heron species in North America, according to the National Audubon Society.
"Great blue herons hunt by stealth and appear to have endless patience as they watch and wait for prey, including fish, amphibians, small mammals and nestlings of other birds," the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service states on its website. "The signature s-curved neck provides speed to the sharp, spear-like bill making this bird a powerful predator."
The great blue heron is a protected species under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Rats are not protected.