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Posts Tagged ‘Reggie’

Hello once again from the Brothers! I am sure many of you are wondering how Reggie is doing with his harem of decoys. Well exciting news; the other day Reg was spotted presenting a nice big fish to a real live lady tern! Unfortunately having spent so long with the decoys Reg forgot his manners and was a little too insistent our new lady tern take his fish. She flew off, but not to worry, she was back the next day so Reg has an opportunity to try again.

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An example of a chick who had a little too much rock gunnel.

In the area of guillemot chick checks we have chicks from two days old weighing in at 37g to Alfonso a tubby 27 day old chick at 345g. There is quite a size difference between some of our chicks which their parents do not seem to take that into account. In taking measurements on our two day old chicks we found that half of the size of the chick could be accounted for by its crop that was stuffed full of delicious nutritious rock gunnel. The poor chick looked as though he wished he would have stopped eating rock gunnel long before he had. We all feel for you little chick!

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A Leach’s storm petrel, presented here as a popsicle bird.

We at the Brothers are very pleased to announce that we have a Leach’s storm petrel who has decided to take up residence on Western Brothers. The Leach’s Storm Petrel is nocturnal. We have heard them calling several times during the night but until now we have not been able to find if they have actually been nesting here. Our petrel was incubating a single egg deep inside a burrow of loose dirt. Storm petrel’s have a very distinctive odor which you may be able to smell at the entrance of the burrow if it is active. The odor is not entirely unpleasant as they smell very much like old books.

One last update for you. We have finally found some young Savannah sparrows. We had known that they were breeding here but we had not been able to find a successful nest until now. As you can see at this age they are almost perfect spheres with over-sized mouths. Adorable!

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Savannah sparrow sphere with giant mouth.

~SK

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Reggie flying and calling

While our sister restoration islands team with clouds of countless terns, the “colony” at EBI is a little more subdued. Meet Reginald Studpants McArthur, the affectionately named sole resident of our Common Tern colony. For the past few years Reggie has made his home among the harem of artificial tern decoys we install at the beginning of the season. Part of our job here on EBI is to monitor tern activity, so each morning we set up shop in the blind and prepare to watch Reggie for an hour as he goes about his daily business. He exhibits any number of behaviors such as fishing, preening, sleeping, circling the colony, chasing predators, and even attempting to court his decoys by offering  them big shiny fish (sometimes while standing on their heads!). So far, no takers.

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Reggie offering a Herring to the decoys

Terns, like other Larids (gulls and allies), each seem to have their own personalities as individuals. Even amongst a colony of thousands, their personalities shine through in the way they interact with others and their environment. Reggie is just the same and over the past several weeks it has been a real pleasure getting to “know” our tern as an individual. And by now he knows us, as well! When we enter the “colony” he is always right there with us, hovering above our heads or standing a few feet away, watching, calling, circling, and making sure we don’t harm his “friends,” the decoys. He trusts us and simply observes, curious about our activities but knowing we intend no harm. Novel objects, such as my backpack left behind on a rock, he seems to enjoy, hovering over them curiously. There is one thing he does not tolerate, however, and that is the Eagle who visits us on occasional forays from neighboring Green Island. Eagles are destructive predators of seabirds and will eat anything. Terns exhibit a mobbing behavior to scare away such predators and Reggie is no different. To protect his colony of decoys he takes on the perilous task of chasing away the Eagle all by himself, diving, screaming, and doing everything in his power to chase the Eagle all the way back to Green Island before he returns, triumphant, to strut amongst his decoys as if congratulations were in order. And indeed they are, for one small tern against a giant Eagle is no meager feat! You go, Reggie.

-Julia

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