Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Photograph by Alfred M. Bailey
IN THE SUNSHINE ABOVE THEIR BREEDING ISLAND
The laughing gulls are the only gulls breeding in the southern United States. In the breeding colony several hundred may nest on the same little island, choosing
the mangrove and marsh-grown areas for their nests. When disturbed they rise out of the grass and hover overhead, their black and white colors in marked contrast
with the blue of the water and the green of the vegetation. The long-legged young are adepts at taking care of themselves, skulking in the grass if unobserved or sprint-
ing with great speed if in any danger
68

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

Photograph by Alfred M. Bailey GROTESQUE FISHERMEN WHO TRAVEL "BY AËROPLANE” BETWEEN THEIR VILLAGE AND THE SEA We induced the old pelicans to come close to our photographic blind after we had crawled inside, by having one of the boatmen chase the young birds near to us. The old pelicans kept eying the blind suspiciously, however, and if we made too much noise, they were off in a hurry, but after a few circles they would drop heavily among the young birds again. Pelicans are solicitous of the welfare of the nestlings and insist that they keep sheltered from the sun. If a young fellow decides to come out and enjoy the scenery, it is given a few good pecks, after which it makes all haste to take advantage of the haven offered. The birds are more or less intolerant of one another's young, and when a stranger offspring waddles in the way, it is given several good cuffs. In spite of considerable parental solicitude, however, it is not unusual to see one of the foolish old birds standing on its offspring without seeming to notice the protesting squawks

60

[ocr errors]

A STRANGE
PERFORMANCE
The parent pelican
feeds its young by dis.
gorging partly digested
food. In the evening
from far out in the gulf,
long lines of adult birds
come winging their way
with methodically timed
strokes, so heavily bur.
dened with the bony sar-
dines they carry that
they can scarcely fly. The
youngster who posed for
this picture was anx
iously trying to go down
its elder's throat after
the sardines. The action
is a matter of habit and
racial instinct although
having the appearance of
intolerable impertinence
on the part of the young
bird. The young often
receive so many fish that
the tail of the last re-
mains in sight; in fact
they often become SO
gorged that they flop
over on their backs with
feet extended in the air.

The pelicans are good
natured and make fine
pets. We picked up a
wing-tipped bird and
kept it for several days.
At first it refused to
eat, but finally, when it
decided to accept our
proffered gifts, it took
fourteen catfish at one
feeding. The young birds
were not greatly dis
turbed by our intrusion
and seemed to delight in
running between our legs
as they wobbled around
clumsily with an audible
pat-pat of

their large webhed feet

Photograph by Alfred M. Bailey

61

[graphic]
[graphic][merged small]

PART OF A COLONY OF SKIMMERS IN ITS SUMMER HOME

The black skimmers rest during the day on sandy beaches along the coast and outside islands to which they give a very somber appearance as they huddle together, their jet
black coats standing out against the sand like a heavy pall spread over the ground. These birds are difficult to approach for study, but they may easily be watched by
using a photographic blind. They flutter down in front of the blind, eying it uncertainly, and at the first suspicious movement dart away, only to circle

around a few times and return again and again
62

« PreviousContinue »