Hi Teresa, Thanks for writing. And for your cool observation. Birds often feed babies that are not their own. The instinct to stuff food in an open mouth is so strong. One theory is that the danger of not feeding one of your own hungry chicks is greater than the risk of feeding someone else’s. At least most of the time. Sometimes, the results are really remarkable. There are any number of photos and videos of birds feeding goldfish and koi, including one at this page of a Northern cardinal feeding goldfish: http://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2010/05/basic-instinct-cardinal-feeds-goldfish.html
And recently in the news is an amazing story of bald eagles feeding a hawk chick in British Columbia. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2017/06/29/these-bald-eagles-are-feeding-a-baby-hawk-because-parenthood-makes-you-crazy/?utm_term=.26c7f7c47e7b
Hi Sarah, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. There are indeed freshwater jellyfish. In fact, I wrote an article about them years ago on a previous website (curiousnature.info/A1-Jellyfish.htm). But I don’t think they’re usually found in rivers, at least not if there’s any current. And everything I know says they aren’t capable of leaving the marks you got.
The one thing I know of that is in the water that might give you bites like that is the small bugs called backswimmers. I’ve never been bitten by them, but apparently, they are capable of biting and it stings. Seems odd that you would have gotten bitten so many times, but do you remember seeing them in the river? Tom
Hi thanks for replying 🙂
I didn’t see what stung me and no one was with me. Oh, except my dog. A dad had jumped out of his inflatable boat to save his daughter, who was drowning on other side of river, leaving his son alone in a drifting boat, so I swam out and towed the boy back in. I saw about 10 people swim in that section of the river but not on the side I was in. I had been swimming in many other parts of the river that day with no strange stings. I didn’t hear anyone else complaining. I have asked locals this evening. Strangely a friend in a nearby village (same river) said her daughter said she’d seen a jelly fish while swimming this week end and that they had been teasing her ever since!
I have found articles on freshwater jellyfish seen occasionally in the UK since 1880 but all the articles say there have never been any stings documented so they assume they do not sting. Thanks. Sarah