Thursday, July 8, 2010

Waved Albatross

The waved albatross only nests on a single island in the Galapagos and no other place in the world.  We saw them nesting, and also got to see (and hear) their mating dances.  The birds open their beaks and clack, and seem to be engaged not just as couples but with little bands of birds participating or vying for attention.

This endangered, large seabird flies incredible distances, staying out to see months at a time.  Lately there has been an issue with some fishermen in Peru catching them in fishing nets on purpose and consuming them - a problem biologists and the governments involved are working on.  It doesn't apparently bother some to consume endangered species.

It is not hard to see hoe this bird got into trouble.  Breeding on only one island, breeding only every other year, and raising only one young can make for some population limitations.  The birds have a bright yellow beak and a frosted light yellow head.  As with all things in the Galapagos, you can get amazingly close to these birds.  We were within a few feet of several of them, which was quite a privilege.

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