Tuesday, July 20, 2010
But there are other birds here as well. I have sort of a "love-hate" relationship with the Red-tailed Tropicbirds. I love how beautiful they are. Look at these pictures of adult RTTR. What a glossy white bird, with striking black feathers around the eye! And isn't that a beautiful red bill? If you look closely at the top picture and the one to the right left-hand picture, which shows an adult resting in the native `Akulikuli (Sea Purslane, Sesuvium portulacastrum), you can see the red tail-feather that's present only during mating season. After mating season the feather falls off.
But I hate the Tropicbird's call. If you get too close to one of these birds it screams at you with a really loud, raspy squawk. The video below was taken from the porch of Midway Atoll's Clipper House, a lovely place where our meals are served. If you look closely, you'll see the famous circular mating flight of some RTTR in the distance. They fly in a vertical circle: flying up toward the sky, then backwards, then down toward the ocean, forward, and then repeat. (I know, I know; you wish I would zoom in on those white specks that are birds! I have a really, really simple camera, and if I use the zoom, the video gets fuzzy.) The good thing about the video is its audio, which gives you an ear-full from the Red-tailed Tropicbirds sailing overhead. They definitely are not songbirds!
Strange Flight of the Tropicbirds from Barb Mayer on Vimeo.