Posted by: ktzefr | July 24, 2015

Favorite Foto Friday — Blue-Footed Booby

Blue-footed booby, Isla Espanola, Galapagos; Photo:MFawcett

Blue-footed booby, Isla Espanola, Galapagos; Photo:MFawcett

Isla Espanola, Galapagos — We are in a panga, a large rubber raft, headed to a clump of black volcanic rock — one of the few dry landings on the island.  Turns out not to be as “dry” as we thought.  We scramble ashore with the waves splashing against the rocks and walk single file along a natural jetty where we are met by a welcoming committee of one  — a blue-footed booby perched on a tall boulder preening himself.

As birding goes, the Galapagos is the place to be.  Since the birds have no fear of humans, they will sit for any number of portraits. 

A few interesting facts about this pretty bird…

1)  They love their colorful feet and they strut around, stepping high, to show them off during the mating ritual. The fancier the dance and the bluer the feet – the better to win a mate.

2)  Blue-footed boobies are carnivores.  They especially enjoy anchovies.

3)  These birds can live up to 17 years and have a wing span of 5 feet.

4)  They are excellent divers; when they see a school of fish, they fold back their wings, streamline their bodies, and dive headfirst into the water.  Their eyesight is excellent and their aim is on target.

5)  Blue foots can hatch 1 to 3 chicks and both parents feed and take care of them.  They use their webbed feet to cover their young and keep them warm.

6)  These birds are not graceful on land and their clumsiness may be why they were called boobies, which comes from the word bobo, meaning stupid. They are not, however, dumb birds. Early explorers considered the birds dumb because they showed no fear and were easily picked up and carted off to the dinner table.   But it wasn’t stupidity that caused them to be easy targets; they simply had no fear.  They had never met human predators and had no reason to be afraid. 

I’m glad boobies can still live, for the most part, without fear.  They show only curiosity.  This is the most striking characteristic about the animals of these islands.  I knew this, of course, but I still wasn’t quite prepared.  I continue to be mesmerized by the memories of these beautiful creatures.

I have tried, on occasion, to imagine a world in which humans live without fear, a world in which curiosity would take its place. 

Can you?

 

More info:

National Geographic   (Blue Footed Boobies)

National Wildlife Federation ( Blue Footed Boobies for kids) 

 

 

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Responses

  1. How wonderful that you had this opportunity. Lovely article.

    • Thanks. A few years ago now but such images!

  2. I love the utopian society you describe, Katie. If only …

    As for this blue-footed booby beauty, what a wonderful shot, made all the more special because of the memories surrounding it! I’ve heard of the wonders of the Galapagos – aren’t you lucky to have experienced it!

    • Stacy…this was in the days before digital cameras! We were lucky the critters were so cooperative. Wish I could get even a halfway decent picture of the goldfinch at my feeder.

      • Makes it all the more wonderful, Katie! As for your bird feeder friend, if at first you don’t succeed … 😉


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