In a unique wildlife spectacle known only to occur in the tidal marshes of Georgia, dolphins work in synchronization to create a wave that pushes fish onto shore, and then they beach themselves to feast on the easy pickings before flopping back into the water. Egrets and gulls enjoy the easy meals, too.
The incredible display occurs at low tide in the swamps located 20 miles from Savannah, Georgia. It was documented by Discovery Channel’s “North America” series, and will be shown in Sunday’s episode “The Savage Edge.” Watch the astonishing video Discovery shared with GrindTV Outdoor:
“This amazing behavior is found nowhere else on Earth,” the narrator says. “Only dolphins that call this swamp their home can do this. Operating as a tactical unit, they corral the fish towards the bank, then in coordinated effort, they push full force into the shore, creating a bow wave that flushes the fish onto the banks.”
This unique feeding behavior is apparently seasonal, according to a 1971 report by the Journal of Mammalogy, one of the few online sources that document this phenomenon.
The report says it is limited to a short period in late spring and a longer period in the fall. The reason given is that the fish may not be as abundant during these times of the year, forcing the dolphins to use unconventional methods to feed. This occurs within 30 minutes before or after low tide, when the fish become more concentrated and the mud bank is adequately exposed, allowing the dolphins to slip back into the water.
UPDATE: This unusual feeding behavior has also been witnessed in South Carolina, according to a few emails we have received. “I saw it live and up close in and around Folly Beach and Kiawah Island, S.C.,” said one. One thing all agree on is that it is amazing to watch.
Photos courtesy of Discovery Channel.