Resisting the gaze of the blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii) is almost impossible:
Throw in the deep blue bill and those strikingly blue feet:
and a Neil deGrasse Tyson come hither look and well, he is quite irresistible.
It is easy to see how their happy, rhythmic mating dance
leads to an elaborate courtship ritual
and to new baby boobies:
The baby boobies do not acquire the blue feet until sexual maturity.
But, clearly they acquire an open mouth early on:
And the parental boobies wish for the good old days of happy, courtship dancing:
with a beautiful red Galapagos island background to show off their blue feet:
Over half of all the blue-footed boobies nest in the Galapagos archipelago off the coast of continental Ecuador, South America:
I do sense quite a kinship (footship?) with these avian creatures who have permanently closed nostrils and breathe through their mouths. However, I draw the line at siblicide, especially parent-encouraged siblicide. Yes, it is what you think it is.
Last night's live stream of a Cornell ornithology lecture by Irby Lovette and Fausto Rodriguez about the evolutionary biology and nature of the Galapagos included discussion of the finches of Isla Daphne.
On an island so small it would fit in the arts quadrangle at Cornell, the finches' beak size increased .7 mm in the late 1970's and has since decreased as the food supply changed from larger seeds to much smaller seeds.
The island is quite dry and harsh with a predominant food source in the prickly pear cactus. Every finch on the island is now banded and numbered thanks to the work of Peter and Rosemary Grant and other researchers. Here is a Geospiza fortis or medium ground finch (looks pretty good for having been ground--sorry!):
The presenters discussed the importance of the mockingbird (Mimus parvulus) in Charles Darwin's thinking on evolution and the origin of species.
According to Lovette, the mockingbirds were even more pivotal in Darwin's thinking than the finches. There was allusion to Darwin's role not only a geologist and naturalist, but also as a naturist.
The lead character, Catniss, agrees to take on the role of Mockingjay, the figurehead for the revolution. Mockingjays are known for their unrelenting drive toward mating via both mimicry of other birds (some birds have been recorded with up to 55 calls) and plumage displays. Some even mock car alarms:
Mockingbird Imitates Car Alarm
My favourite observation about the mockingbird is in the 1975 Pulitzer Prize-winning book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Annie Dillard wrote, "The mockingbird's invention is limitless. He strews newness about as casually as a god."
"Strewing newness about as casually as a god" fits the title role in The Hunger Games book series, the birds and other animals Darwin studied for 5 years from the HMS Beagle, and, perhaps even Darwin himself.
Yet, for my tastes, mockingbirds are no blue-footed booby:
Looking forward to your bird tales and tails,