A couple of years ago at Lake Independence in western Hennepin County I watched a Great Egret catch and swallow a panfish as large as my hand with fingers spread. The bird had to work at it, mostly to position the fish so it went down headfirst, the best, probably the only way to swallow something with fins. Here is the photo I took, plus a second of an egret with its slender neck as usuallly seen. I mention this because of a video recently posted of a Great Blue Heron swallowing a carp, a huge carp that probably weighed more than the bird. It's available on YouTube (where else?). The link is http://bit.ly/1xsFmvn

There is a collection of birds-swallowing-large-fish at that site. I did not see any of the birds flying away after those huge meals.