Thursday, August 23, 2007

Chainsaw Thursday

Another day of clearing Radar Hill. We are doing pretty good so far. There is one tree we can't cut down yet because a red-tailed tropic bird chick lives under it. It should be gone in a week or two so we'll wait. We aren't cutting them nearly as fast without the volunteers around to clear the small branches and put the trees in piles. We pile them up so there is still nesting habitat for the petrels and albatrosses. I'll show you a picture soon so you know what I'm talking about.
Tomorrow I have to go check the red-tailed tropic bird plots and count them so your pictures today will be of them.

There are a few parents hanging around their chicks, but usually they fly off and leave their chicks alone while they get food. There are no predators on the island and its warm so the chicks are usually ok alone.

These are two red-tailed tropic bird chicks that live under the same tree but on opposite sides. This day the one on the left wandered over to the other side. They squawked at each other for 5 minutes, then the one went back to the other side. These are the birds who really can't use their legs for much other than scraping along the dirt so it was a pretty big trip for it. These two should be ready to fledge in maybe 2 weeks


Anonymous said...

What a great shot of the mother nestling it's chick.

Kathy in MN

Anonymous said...

The Mom and chick are the greatest!
Why can't the red tailed birds use their legs/feet?

Pete Leary said...

Thanks Kathy and Delilah.
The birds have evolved to not walk around. They use their feet to help them steer while flying and they can swim with them. They historically have nested in very thick bushes and they kind of push themselves through with their wings and very little with their feet. I don't know why exactly though.