Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches

One Shell of a Find!

  • Like us on Facebook!

  • Come Join Us! Treasure Hunters

  • Copyright Notice

    The contents of this site are copyright Beach Treasures And Treasure Beaches.com and may not be copied or used without written permission from the Beach Treasures And Treasure Beaches staff. The posts may be quoted in part, so long as credit is given where it is due and so long as you link the quote back to this page. Thank you kindly for your cooperation and for your interest in our passion for beaches.
    ©2011-2014 Beach Treasures And Treasure Beaches.com.
    All Rights Reserved.

  • Disclaimer

    Links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience to users; Beach Treasures And Treasure Beaches.com does not control or endorse their content.

Author Archive

Masked Boobies: Largest of the Boobies

Posted by Greg on November 14, 2012

Masked Booby With Chick. (Photo by Duncan Wright: PD-USGov-FSA)

Surprisingly, no comic book superhero or super-villain has yet claimed the name “The Masked Booby.” It may only be a matter of time!

The Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra) is the largest of the boobies, measuring up to a meter (39 inches) long with a 5 to 6 foot wing span. The term “Masked Boobies” once represented a larger group of birds, but recently it has been divided into two separate species. The birds that are no longer called Masked Boobies are now called the Nazca Boobies (Sula granti).  Those boobies are mostly seen on the Galapagos, they are slightly smaller, and they have a redish-pink to orange bill instead of the Masked Boobies’ yellow bill. Both groups have white bodies with dark brown to black feathers on their tails and on the trailing edges of their wings.

According to BirdLife International, the masked booby “favors smaller oceanic islands for roosting and breeding, especially those that are flat with un-forested terrain, including low, sandy cays, coral beaches, and arid volcanic islands, both bare and with zerophytic scrub.”

NHPT Nature Works says, “The masked booby breeds in the Caribbean, across the Pacific Ocean, to Hawaii, Australia, and Indonesia. Occasionally, it can be found in the Gulf states of Louisiana, Texas and Florida. It winters in open ocean waters. The masked booby plunges head first into the ocean to catch flying fish and squid. It can dive from distances of over 90 feet.”

As you can see in this video below, the masked boobies are as unconcerned about the presence of people as their red and blue footed brothers.

Unlike the blue footed booby, the masked booby only raises one chick at a time. The female sometimes will lay two eggs with only one hatching. If both hatch, one will hatch 4 to 7 days before the other. The older and larger chick will push the sibling out of the nest. The parents do not protect the ejected chick from opportunistic predators. It is thought that this process may insure success to have at least one hatchling since their eggs hatch about 60% of the time, and since they are best equipped to take care of only one chick, the ejection helps insure the success of the first born. Both parents share the incubation duties, and like the other boobies, they use their feet to warm the eggs which hatch in 38 to 49 days. The young make first flight in 109 to 151 days but return to the nest to be fed by the parents for another month or two (kind of like when your kids leave the nest but come home to raid the fridge or grab a free hot meal).

Well, what do you think?  What sort of super power might “The Masked Booby” possess?  Maybe flying and diving fast enough to snatch up Aquaman’s loyal minions from the sea?  Feel free to take a gander (yes, that is a waterfowl pun) and tell us your own ideas on the subject.

Happy beach birdwatching!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About these ads

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Travel Theme: Animals – Tidepooling in Bandon, Oregon

Posted by Greg on October 10, 2012

This way to the beach! Sunset in Bandon, Oregon

Jody and I just returned from the Oregon coast where we did two of my favorite things: exploring tidepools and seeing the grandkids (more on that soon)! The best tidepools we were able to visit close to low tide were in Bandon, a small sea coast town in southwestern Oregon, about 90 miles north of the California boarder. We stayed at a nice motel right at the beach on Coquille Point,  where we,  in shorts and water sandals, were able to head right down the stairs to investigate the beach. The late evening air and cold ocean water combined to create a numbing effect. Boy, did we freeze our fingers and toes! We were undeterred, though. The landscape was amazing, and the amount of life in the tidepools was impressive.

Take a closer look! Do you see the sea stars already?

These were the brightest green sea anemones I had ever seen. It looked like the sea stars enjoyed the real estate around the anemones, because large quantities had settled in between them. I was like a kid in a candy store! There were caves and passages in and through the huge rocks, and they were all full of tidepool animals.

We hope you enjoy these photos as much as we enjoyed taking them!

Go ahead, get even closer!

You’ll have to get your feet wet here.

Bandon’s tidepools and rocks are teeming with colorful marine life!

Sea stars, sea anemones, mussels and barnacles in Bandon’s tide pools.

Colorful sea stars and sea anemones on Bandon’s beach.

How many sea stars?

Sea Anemones

Fellow tidepoolers enjoying a sea star supper in Bandon, Oregon.

A farewell salute from a Bandon local.

Bandon, Oregon

If you would like to read more about tide pools and tide pool animals, here are a few related posts:

Tidepool Etiquette 101 

Starfish or Sea Star?

Southern California Sea Anemones

A Visit to the Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument

What Will You Find in a Southern California Tide Pool?

This week’s “Travel Theme: Animals” comes from Ailsa at Where’s My Backpack?

*Another tag-team post by Greg and Jody*

~~~

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Pacific Coast Beaches, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments »

Cormorants: Stars of the Silver Screen and Literature

Posted by Greg on August 29, 2012

Double-crested Cormorant. Photo by Mike Baird (Wikimedia Commons)

The name “cormorant” applies to a large variety of birds worldwide.  According to the USDA Wildlife Service, there are 30 different species of cormorants, both flighted and flightless, around the globe. The flightless cormorants inhabit the Galapagos Islands only.  Many reliable sources currently place cormorants in the Pelecaniformes order of birdswhich also includes gannets, pelicans, boobies and great frigates.  Of course, both the numbers and the order are subject to change as scientific discoveries are made and definitions are tweaked.

Flightless Cormorant. Photo by Charles J. Sharp (Wikimedia Commons)

According to Carolina Birds.org“The Pelecaniformes order is in a state of flux. The order was originally defined to include birds that have feet with four web toes. Most members also have non functional nostril slits. They feed on fish or similar marine life. However, many of these species have obtained these features by convergent evolution and not because of common ancestry. At least one new order will probably be formed.” While researching for this post, I found the cormorants’ order listed as Suliformes in more than one trusted reference. The argument goes on.

Cormorants make their nests in a wide variety of ways and places. Britannica Online says, “Cormorants inhabit seacoasts, lakes, and some rivers. The nest may be made of seaweed and guano on a cliff or of sticks in a bush or tree. The two to four chalky eggs, pale blue when fresh, hatch in three to five weeks, and the young mature in the third year.”

Cormorants aren’t particularly spectacular looking birds. Continuing the quote from Britannica, “Cormorants have a long hook-tipped bill, patches of bare skin on the face, and a small gular sac (throat). The largest and most widespread species is the common, or great, cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo; white-cheeked, and up to 100 cm (40 inches) long, it breeds from eastern Canada to Iceland, across Eurasia to Australia and New Zealand, and in parts of Africa.”

Brandt’s cormorants and friends on the La Jolla coast

According to e-how.com,The cormorant has featured prominently in many famous works of literature. In “Paradise Lost,” John Milton used the cormorant as a symbol of avarice and dishonesty as it sat in the Tree of Life as Eve entered Eden. In “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte, the eponymous heroine painted a cormorant to represent a cruel woman she disliked. During medieval times, many cultures used cormorant plumage in their coat-of-arms and other heraldry.”

Jody and I recently saw the movie Master and Commander. In the film, the ship’s doctor (and nature enthusiast) discovers flightless cormorants on the Galapagos Islands but is frustrated as events prevent him from going back to collect one. As Lucky Jack reminds the good doctor in the end:

Capt. Jack Aubrey: Well, Stephen… the bird’s flightless?
Dr. Stephen Maturin: Yes.
Capt. Jack Aubrey: It’s not going anywhere.

Master and Commander

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Curious about cormorants? So is Rover!

Posted by Greg on July 11, 2012

Today’s feathered feature is the Brandt’s cormorant Jody and I met on our last trip to sunny Southern California.

The Brandt’s cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) is a sea bird common to the Pacific Coast of North America, from California to Washington. The full range, however, is from southern Alaska to Baja Mexico, wherever the food is most plentiful. This sea bird depends heavily on the California Current, which moves south along the Pacific Coast of North America, causing  upwellings of nutrients that attract the bird’s food. Its diet consists mainly of fish, along with shrimp and crabs. The Brandt’s cormorant is a great diver that descends from the water’s surface and uses its powerful webbed feet to swim masterfully. This cormorant commonly dives to depths of 40 feet, chasing prey that they grab with their hooked bill and then swallow whole.

We came across this juvenile Brandt’s cormorant on La Jolla’s beautiful coast.

Juvenile Brandt’s Cormorant enjoying the view in La Jolla, California

Brandt’s cormorants have distinctive white cheeks, making them easy to identify. According to the Channel Islands National Park, California, “Brandt’s cormorants weigh about 4.6 pounds and measure 34 inches in length, with a wingspan of about 4 feet. Sexes look similar; with short black legs, a long black body and neck, and a dark bill with a hooked tip. Breeding adults have brilliant turquoise eyes and a bright blue gular pouch-distinctive among this species of cormorant-which fades quickly after the nesting season. Their breeding plumage also includes white plumes on either side of the head, neck, and back. Like other cormorants, Brandt’s cormorants often spread their wings out to dry after a dive, as their feathers are not completely waterproof and become soaked. This helps reduce buoyancy and allows the cormorant to forage deep under water.

Juvenile Brandt’s cormorants (like the one we met) are brownish black with a lighter tan underside that forms a V-shape where the neck meets the chest.

What’s up?

The picture below shows the result of a pet owner disregarding  San Diego County beach dog laws and commonly accepted beach pet etiquette. Although the bird seemingly remained calm, cool and collected, this unexpected encounter gave Jody and me a good scare! Luckily, Rover was just curious. He didn’t get any closer to the young cormorant before his errant owner realized where he was and called him off.

Uh oh! Fido isn’t on a leash!

The inquisitive pooch was not only off-leash but was also on the beach within restricted hours. San Diego County has a very specific set of hours in which dogs are allowed on beaches, and at all times they must be kept on a leash.

Of course, our pal Rover didn’t know any better, but his human might want to consider planning a visit to one of the four special “Dog  Beaches” on the San Diego Coast. They include Dog Beach-Ocean Beach, Fiesta Island-Mission Bay, North Beach Dog Run-Coronado, and Del Mar Dog Beach-Del Mar. Each of these beaches has their own rules. Stop by the county’s Dog Beaches site for details.

“Properly trained, a man can be dog’s best friend.”  ~Corey Ford, American humorist

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

American White Pelican – A Team Player

Posted by Greg on June 27, 2012

American White Pelican landing in water. (Photo: PD-USGov FWS)

The American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)  is a very large bird by any standard. It stands about 4 feet tall, can have a wing span of over 9 feet, and weighs between 10 and 30 pounds. It flies north during breeding season (as far as Northern Alberta, Canada) and winters south (as far as the Gulf of Mexico and Central America).  In the continental United States, you can find American White Pelicans on lakes, streams, rivers and marshes from Minnesota, west to Northern California  in the summer months, and in the Gulf Coast States and southern California in the winter months.

American White Pelican (PD-USGov FWS)

According to Nature Works (New Hampshire Public TV): “It is entirely white except for its black-edged wings that are visible when the American white pelican is in flight. It has a long neck, a long orange bill with an expandable pouch and short orange legs with big webbed feet. In breeding season, it has a light yellowish crest on the back of its head and a nuptial tubercle or fibrous plate on the upper part of its bill. The nuptial tubercle will fall off when mating season is over and the crest will turn gray. Young American white pelicans have grayish markings on their heads and backs.

Other than shallow surface dives, the American White Pelican does not dive for its food like its cousin the Brown Pelican. He usually just dips his head into the water to scoop up his prey. Sometimes these pelicans fish cooperatively. Forming a semi circle, they splash with their feet and wings to drive the confused fish into shallow water where they can scoop them up. Sometimes they will form opposing lines, one side driving the fish to the waiting pelicans on the other side.

American White Pelicans (Photo: PD-USGov FWS.)

According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: “The American White Pelican is a graceful flier, either singly, in flight formations, or soaring on thermals in flocks. They soar in different portions of thermals for different distances: wandering flights in lower portions of a thermal, commuting flights at middle heights, and cross-country flights in the upper reaches of thermal columns.

No matter the beach or water’s edge you happen to be on, these magnificent birds are a real joy to watch.

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

“The Beachmaker” – Turning Shells into Sand

Posted by Greg on June 4, 2012

Have you seen the billboards and signs posted around lakes, beaches and boat ramps asking boaters to wash their boat to prevent transporting unwanted hitchhikers from lake to lake? Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) are one of the hitchhikers they are talking about!

Zebra Mussel Shells (Photo: Greg Books,©Beachmakers LLC 2012)

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources :Zebra mussels and a related species, the Quagga mussel, are small, fingernail-sized animals that attach to solid surfaces in water. Adults are 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches long and have D-shaped shells with alternating yellow and brownish colored stripes. Female zebra mussels can produce 100,000- 500,000 eggs per year. These develop into microscopic, free-living larvae (called veligers) that begin to form shells. After two-three weeks, the microscopic veligers start to settle and attach to any firm surface using “byssal threads”. It is the only freshwater mussel that can attach to objects. They are native to Eastern Europe and Western Russia and were brought over to the Great Lakes in ballast water of freighters… Zebra mussels can cause problems for lakeshore residents and recreationists. Homeowners that take lake water to water lawns can have their intakes clogged. Mussels may attach to motors and possibly clog cooling water areas. Shells can cause cuts and scrapes if they grow large enough on rocks, swim rafts and ladders. Anglers may lose tackle as the shells can cut fishing line. Zebra mussels can also attach to native mussels, killing them.

Zebra mussel shells lining the lake shore (Photo: Greg Books,©Beachmakers LLC 2012)

How does the zebra mussel infestation affect beachgoers, specifically? The massive amounts of razor sharp shells washing up onto a lake’s shore makes walking barefoot on the beach nearly impossible.

Zebra mussel beach on Green Bay, Wisconsin (Photo: Greg Books,©Beachmakers LLC 2012)

What’s being done about this beachy menace? R.J. Elsing of Beachmakers L.L.C. (Pulaski, Wisconsin) has invented a machine that sucks up the piles of shells left behind on shores of lakes infested with zebra mussels and turns them into beach sand. According to an article by theNORTHWESTERN.com, The machine sucks up shells through a large hose, which sends them into a chamber where a ‘tornado effect’ spins the shells around, crushing them as they are tossed against the interior walls, until they disintegrate into sand…Elsing said the machine he was using can crush about 17 cubic yards — or one dump truck load — of zebra mussels per hour, though he’s working on a machine that would process the shells three times faster.

How cool is that?  Good old American ingenuity – turning menacing zebra mussel shells into beach sand!

Want to see how it works? Here’s a Fox 11 News clip.

Here’s to a summer full of  barefoot days at the beach!

Posted in Great Lakes Beaches, Monday Miscellaneous, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

No ~Hula~ for the Red-Footed Booby!

Posted by Greg on April 25, 2012

Often seen perched on coastal trees and shrubs, the colorful Red-footed Booby (Sula sula) lives and breeds on tropical and subtropical islands and atolls of the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, and the three seas north of Australia.

Adult Red-Footed Booby With Chick. (Photo:GSH1967/Wikimedia Commons)

Unlike blue-footed boobies, red-footed boobies don’t have an elaborate mating dance. Nesting on land, these handsome sea birds breed throughout the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWMI) and at limited sites on the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI).  Red-footed boobies, or ′ā (as they are known in Hawaii), are the only boobies that commonly nest in small trees and shrubs. Egg laying usually peaks from February through April, with the ′ā producing only one egg per season. Equal opportunity guardians, both the males and females share in incubation duties. The young are ready to fly around September. The doting parents feed their young for up to 4 months after fledging (developing wing feathers large enough for flight).

White Morph Red-footed Booby in Flight Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

White Morph Red-footed Booby (Photo:PD-USGov-FWS)

Red-footed boobies have been known to follow, and sometimes land, on ships and fishing boats. They feed mostly on squid and fish and can snatch a flying fish, their favorite food, out of the air. Like their blue-footed relatives, they are great divers and have keen eyesight to spot their prey. They can dive from as high as 26 feet to capture their dinner.

Red-footed boobies are the smallest of all the boobies. They measure 28 to 30 inches in length and have a wing span of  around 4 1/2  feet. Unlike their blue-footed relatives, they aren’t very uniform in appearance.  Almost all Hawaiian birds of this species are white, however, according to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: “The Red-footed Booby comes in a confusing array of color morphs, ranging from individuals that are all white except for blackish on the wing, to individuals that are entirely dark brown. Some birds fail to fit neatly into any of the typical color morph categories, and many variations exist. Color morphs do not segregate reproductively or geographically; individuals representing several morphs breed in a single colony.”

Like their booby cousins, they are unafraid of people and easy to capture. In some areas these birds are used for food. Poaching, coupled with other encroachments on their habitat (e.g., insects, rats and feral cats), is resulting in the appearance of declining numbers.

Red-Footed Booby, Kauai, Hawaii (Photo:DickDaniels/Wikimedia Commons)

Jody and I hope that our next Hawaiian vacation will take us to the island of Kauai. We’ll definitely plan a visit to Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, where we now know to be on the lookout for these very interesting and beautiful coastal birds!

-Now, can someone please tell me how to pronounce ′ā?

Have a great day birding at the beach! Aloha! 

Related links: Hawaii’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy

Boobies? Seriously, Boobies, Blue-Footed Booby

National Geographic, Red-Footed Booby


Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding, Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tufted Puffins, Birds With “Do”s

Posted by Greg on April 4, 2012

Tufted Puffin. Photo by Jeff Foote (NOAA Photo Library)

Here’s a great bit of news for those who want to see puffins but can’t go to Newfoundland or Europe. They’re coming to Oregon! Cannon Beach no less! According to the Coast Explorer, “Each spring, colorful Tufted Puffins return to Cannon Beach’s Haystack Rock to lay eggs and raise their chicks, offering the Northwest’s most accessible location to see nesting puffins. Throughout the spring and summer months, the Haystack Rock Awareness Program is on the beach at Haystack Rock offering interpretive information about the rock and the habitat it provides for intertidal creatures and birds. The program offers spotting scopes focused on nesting Tufted Puffins to offer visitors a look at the colorful birds.” This is definitely going on my to-do list.

Misty Morning at Haystack Rock

The Seattle Audubon Society tells us, “Tufted Puffins can be found in many coastal habitats adjacent to the Washington coast and elsewhere in the northern Pacific, with the exception of estuaries. They breed in colonies on islands with steep, grassy slopes or on cliff tops.

Tufted Puffin (Photo:Mike Boylan/PD-USgov-NOAA) Nice "do"

Winter habitat is well offshore, in mid-ocean.They dive and swim underwater, using their wings to paddle and their feet to steer their way through schools of small fish, which they catch in their bills. They can be seen carrying fish crosswise in their bills (sometimes 12 or more), which they take back to their young.

Tufted Puffins (Fratercula cirrhata) are a Northern Pacific sea bird. They are found along the Pacific Rim from the islands of Japan to Central California. Their average height is 15.5 inches, and these puffins have a relatively short wingspan. They are a stocky bird and need a running start to take off. Flight is difficult for them, but their wings aid them in swimming. They carry fish for their young to the nest in their bills, but they eat their own meals while under water.

The Alaska SeaLife Center explains: “During the summer breeding season, adults have dark bodies and white faces. Their legs are orange and their large triangular shaped bill is red-orange, with a buff or olive green plate at the top. The Tufted Puffin is distinguished by the long, straw colored tufts that curve backward from their red-ringed eyes. In the winter, they shed that buffy bill sheath and plumes and their face becomes dusky.”

I haven’t been to Cannon Beach, Oregon, in a while. Now seems like a good time to go, and what a great excuse to get away to the beach!

Happy coastal bird watching!

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding, Pacific Coast Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Intertidal Intelligence

Posted by Greg on March 14, 2012

Tag-Team Post by Greg and Alaina

An East Pacific Red Octopus, Octopus rubescens, found near Whidbey Island, WA (Taollan82/Wikipedia)

The octopus: a creature of the deep. It’s just as likely to sink your sub (or was that a giant squid?) as it is to accurately predict the World Cup. What on earth does this have to do with the beach? Well, it just happens to be the smartest of the potential tide pool dwellers! Although we’ve never spotted one, it can be done! The Red Octopus (also East Pacific Red Octopus, Octopus rubescens) is the most commonly occurring shallow-water octopus on much of the North American Pacific Coast.  NOAA’s website states that they can be found from Alaska to Baja California.

According to the Marine Science site, “Extremely shy by nature, octopods are a delightful tidepool find. They generally hide so it is only the most watchful and observant tidepooler that usually discovers this interesting animal.”  The last time we were tidepooling in Northern California, we weren’t able to explore during a minus tide. That’s the best time to spot this rarer find.

Photo by Mila Zincova (Wikimedia Commons)

Octopuses will stroll over the rocks between pools to get food or to flee predators (or camera buffs) as pictured above. If you would like, you can watch one on Youtube fleeing a photographer (although it isn’t a red octopus). Since we rarely see them in action on dry land, it’s pretty cool stuff!

These squishy heebie-jeebie inducing critters are remarkably intelligent. In fact, they are known to be the most intelligent invertebrate, even having individual personalities. Octopuses have good long and short term memory and are even trainable; scientists have found octopuses can be trained to recognize different shaped and sized objects.

Octopuses are also sensitive creatures, so please follow tide pool etiquette when observing them! That, and they fight back: “If you find an octopus in a tide pool, you need to be careful with it. They have a sharp beak that can cut through plastic bags (and fingers). They can also spit poisonous juices at you” (NOAA).

Let us know if you spot one! We’d love to share your photos.

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Sand and Shoreline, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Boobies? Seriously, Boobies.

Posted by Greg on February 15, 2012

Male Blue-Footed Booby Displaying Foot. (Photo:Pete/Wikimedia Commons)

While researching coastal birds, I ran across boobies.  Seriously, boobies! The name was unusual enough to grab my attention, but after learning more about them, I found these shore birds not only to be quite beautiful, but interesting too. Especially the Blue-Footed Boobies (Sula nebouxii). They have the most unusually striking blue feet I’ve ever seen, outside of Cartoonland. It also works out that the brighter the blue feet, the more attractive the males are to the females, and the males really do like to strut their stuff. Their feet, that is. According to National Geographic,  “All half-dozen or so booby species are thought to take their name from the Spanish word “bobo.” The term means “stupid,” which is how early European colonists may have characterized these clumsy and unwary birds when they saw them on land—their least graceful environment.” They are, however, good fliers.  The article continues,  “Blue-foots (boobies) nest on land at night. When day breaks, they take to the air in search of seafood, sometimes fishing in cooperative groups. They may fly far out to sea while keeping a keen eye out for schools of small fish, such as anchovies. 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 80 feet (24 meters). Blue-footed boobies can also dive from a sitting position on the water’s surface.

Male Blue-Footed Booby in Courtship Display. (Photo:Wikimedia Commons)

Blue-footed boobies average 32 inches long with wingspans of 5 feet. They weigh just over 3 pounds. Females are slightly larger than the males. They range from the Gulf of California to Peru, along the eastern Pacific coast. About half of the breeding pairs are found on the Galapagos Islands. They are not very self-aware and show unwarranted bravery, so they are easily captured (or worse) by people or predators.

Blue-footed boobies have a unique mating dance.  New Hampshire Public Television describes the mating ritual as follows; “Blue-footed boobies have a very elaborate mating ritual. The male raises one blue foot in the air and then the other as he struts in front of the female. Both the male and the female stretch their necks and point their bills to the sky. The male spreads his wings and whistles. The female may tuck her head under her wing.” If you would like to see the spectacle for yourself just click this link to YouTube. Stay tuned for the credits. They’re a real hoot!

If you have an interest in a shore bird (or any coastal wildlife) and would like more information, please let us know on the Questions and Requests page. 

Also, we’d appreciate it if you shared us with your friends and Liked us on Facebook. (One Shell of a Find)

Happy beach birdwatching!

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 983 other followers

%d bloggers like this: