We Finally See The Blue-Footed Booby Dance
This little island is an extraordinary place for breeding birds. We came here specifically to see the pairs of blue-footed boobies conducting their mating ritual as they offer each other gifts, whistle and honk, stretch their necks towards the sky, spread their wings and dance - showing off their bright blue feet. The first young man we saw as we bimbled along the track stood on his spot and kept vigil, nope, no ladies stopped as they flew by.
People who think looking at birds is worse than watching paint dry are putty in the hands of this particular creature who was doing it long before Fred Astaire could even walk. The major draw for us after all these years of planning was to see for ourselves how this little chap dances for his laydeee. The Galapagos Islands are home to over half the world’s population and most of them use North Seymour, so here we are. Our second chap had attracted a lady and he swung into his first move, was she interested, it was just too hot for any further activity but as she didn’t leave his side we think it will happen later in the day in a sunset romance.
Long necked, sharp billed, OK so far, but brown wings and a white chest doesn’t exactly shout out like the many astonishingly coloured boys of the avian world – so he makes up for it with his feet. His wonderful blue boots are what will win him his mate. He needs to find an area of flat ground, tidy it meticulously of stones, twigs and anything that will prevent him spreading out his appendages to be viewed at their very best.
A practice move for this nervous youngster.
He may prefer to choose a flat topped stone to use as his stage, once covered in white poop his feet will stand out and look amazing. Too pale and he will be overlooked, too poorly, too old or overused and he will not have the necessary azure tone. You could feel the confidence this chap was exuding as he adopted the pose.
When Bear wears his new birthday tee-shirt with the “I love boobies” he’s not really being ...............a saddo, the boobies name has its origin in the Spanish word “bobo,” denoting “fool” or “clown” - we prefer clown.
Certainly fitting as soon as you have witnessed the neck and tail up, honk with wings bent and lifted then –
wait for it left foot up
right foot up,
then that cheeky sideways look at the target of his efforts to see if she mirrors his actions, if that’s the case, he has scored big time..................................
I can do it too
Hang on a minute – mine are white.
Blue-footed boobies also use their webbed feet to cover their young and keep them warm. When a typical brood of one to three chicks hatches, both parents feed and care for them. So just how important is the blueness. Researchers found that females continuously evaluate their partners' condition based on foot color. In an experiment, males whose partners had laid a first egg in the nest had their feet dulled by make-up. Consequently, the females laid smaller second eggs a few days later. Since duller feet usually indicate a decrease in health and possibly genetic quality, it is adaptive for females to decrease their investment in the second egg. The smaller second eggs contained not only less yolk concentration, which could in turn influence embryo development, hatching success, and subsequent chick growth and survival, but also contained less yolk androgens. Androgen plays an important role in chick survival, so this also shows that female Blue-footed Boobies use the attractiveness of their mates to determine how much resources they should allocate to their eggs. This possibly supports the "Differential Allocation Theory", which predicts that parents would invest more in the care of their offspring when paired with attractive mates.
Like other boobies, blue-foots nest on land at night. When day breaks, they take to the air in search of seafood, sometimes fishing in cooperative groups, targets in sight one shrieks a signal and they all dive together. They may fly far out to sea keeping a sharp lookout for schools of small fish, such as sardine, mackerel, flying fish and anchovy. Squid and offal make for a tasty change. When their prey is in sight, these seabirds utilize the physical adaptations that make them exceptional divers. They fold their long wings back around their streamlined bodies and plunge into the water from as high as eighty feet. Blue-footed boobies can also dive from a sitting position on the water's surface. Plunge diving can be done from heights of thirty to one hundred feet and even up to over three hundred feet. These birds hit the water around sixty miles per hour and can go to depths of over eighty feet below the water surface. The specie's skulls contain special air sacs that protect the brain from the enormous pressure. The prey is usually eaten while the bird is still underwater having caught the fish on the rise in the water. Surprisingly, individuals do not eat with the hunting group, preferring to eat on their own, usually in the early morning or late afternoon. Males and females fish differently, which may contribute to why Blue-foots, unlike other boobies, raises more than one young. The male is smaller and the tail is larger for its body, which enables the male to fish in shallow areas instead of just deep waters. The tail can flatten out, enabling him to change direction in the shallow water. The female is larger and can carry more food, which is regurgitated to the young at the nest. The males feed the young for the first part of the incubation period, because the males can bring back food more quickly than the female. When the demand for more food increases, the female begins to provide the food to the young.
I’ll check mine every morning from now on............Yes dear.
ALL IN ALL TREMENDOUS FUN
AMAZING – ANOTHER DREAM COME TRUE