He stuck his neck out to help with the city’s rat problem.
Jaw-dropping footage shows a great blue heron swallowing a huge rat in one gulp in Central Park — prompting rodent-wary New Yorkers to cheer the winged wonder for “doing the lord’s work.”
“Great blue herons eat plenty of fish, but they won’t pass up a meaty and filling New York City rat—this morning at the Central Park Pond,” he tweeted along with the video. “It took the [bird] only a few seconds to lift the rat, once killed, out of the water and swallow it.”
He later told The Post it’s rare for the birds, which also normally eat frogs, crabs and small rodents, to chow down on a rat — but the urban jungle has its own special food chain.
“They can take down big fish and also apparently, big rats!” Barrett said. “They eat whatever they can catch!”
The feathered phenom, likely a juvenile, was hailed by observers for taking a bite out of the Big Apple’s rat population, which has surged amid the pandemic.
“This bird doing the lord’s work getting rid of rats,” one viewer tweeted.
Another crowed, “Let’s put thousands of herons in the subway.”
But more birds in the city doesn’t equal less rats, because few breeds outside of hawks and herons eat large rodents, Barrett said.
“Look at the numbers. Manhattan might have 50 red-tailed hawks altogether,” he said, adding roughly 15 Blue Herons visit the city daily. “The number of rats in Manhattan is not known with any certainty but estimates are 400,000 and up.”
“[There] are far too few to make an impact on rat population,” he added.
Others warned that the city could face a bigger rat boom after subway stations were flooded last week in the wake of Ida, forcing the filthy furballs out from underground.
“So many NYC rats are mad at NYC gov’t for losing their safe subway ‘homes’ during Ida,” one New Yorker tweeted. “Now they’re washed out and in parks becoming heron and falcon feed.”
At least 12,632 called 311 to report rats— with many sightings in Central Park and the Upper West Side — last year, up from 9,042 in 2019, according to numbers reported in November.
A heron’s diet is “highly variable and adaptable, according to the environmental group Audubon. The migratory bird has been seen “stalking voles and gophers in fields, capturing rails at edge of marsh [and] eating many species of small waterbirds,” according to the group’s website.
A rep for the NYC Audubon and the Straphangers Campaign didn’t immediately return requests for comment Monday.