Sunday, June 14, 2009

Is the Fleet Pulling Out?

This morning we noticed a fleet of Frigate birds that seemed to be congregating. It made me curious to find out if they might be leaving for the summer.

What I did find out that they are a seasonally common seabird, also called Man-O-War birds or Pirate birds because they are very good at stealing food from other birds. The male birds have a purplish black body and a bright-red throat pouch, that they use to impress the females during breeding season. They do not migrate, but do move around during non-breading season. The females are browner and have a white breast, and juveniles are lighter brown and have a white head and breast. They only weigh around 3lbs, but have a wing spread of over 6 ft. Frigate birds are skilled at flying and gliding. They have long forked, tails and long legs with small partly webbed feet that they only use for perching, because they hardly ever sit down on the ground or water. Most of their food comes from the sea, and by pirating from other birds, such as gulls and pelicans. They sometimes take young from other birds and baby turtles. Frigate birds in this area, nest mostly in trees or on the ground on outlying islands. The female brings building material to the nest site, and the male builds the nest. Both male and female share in incubation and raising their young.

Mid-afternoon we went to the West Wind Inn Pool Bar. It was 90 degrees. They have a misting system and fans to keep you cool. The temp in the Gulf is 89 now and the water is still very clear. It would probably be clear enough for snorkeling.

If you look carefully you can see a large alligator sand sculpture that was pretty neat.

1 comment:

Gayle said...

Interesting about the birds...also interesting how so much of life is lived off of others...many animals are such as this.

I can't believe how warm the water is. I really am surprised there aren't more people swimming, but I suppose there isn't a huge "child" population at Sanibel that would be splashing about. I'm sure I wouldn't be either...but I'd be looking for shells! :)