Sunday, March 28, 2010

Odd Birdities

Er... Bird Oddities.

Given the hundreds of thousands of birds found here, you're bound to see some "special" individuals here or there. Ones that stick out in some way or show some characteristics that are unusual for their species. I tend to like these birds because they allow me to distinguish them from their many look-alike (at least to me) neighbors. And because, I suppose, their special-ness is somehow endearing. (No jokes about my own special-ness!!)

Sometimes, they're just superficial things such as missing feathers...

or missing legs...

Other times it's the behavior that's peculiar. This Bonin Petrel has chosen to nest between the roots of an ironwood tree instead of in a burrow like a good normal petrel.

Maybe it arrived later than the others and couldn't find a suitable burrow? Or maybe it just likes to think out of the box, I dunno.

This Red-tailed Tropicbird chick is almost ready to fledge. This is unusual because it's super early - most tropicbirds are just beginning to lay their eggs right now.

You can blame this one on the weirdo parents.

And finally, you have the genetic mutants.

This is an albino Laysan Albatross chick. Both of his parents have completely normal plumage so albinism must be a recessive trait (?). Apparently, there's an albino chick in the same nest every year.

This one is probably the most confused of all. He is the result of a Laysan and Black-footed Albatross pairing and displays characteristics of both species. Two or three hybrids like this one are seen each year on Midway.

Hybrids tend to associate with Laysans, but perform the courtship dance like a Black-footed. Here is a video of the hybrid trying to woo a Laysan. They're obviously not completely in sync, but there have been recorded Laysan x Hybrid pairings so there's hope for him yet.

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