Pigeon guillemots (PIGUs) are unquestionably the most adorable of all the birds we study here at Sea Ranch. And until recently, we didn’t get to spend that much time observing them. But for the past couple of weeks we’ve been doing three hour nest surveys every other day, getting an idea of how often adults bring food back for their chicks, and what exactly they’re bringing. To introduce you to these adorable birds, I’ve drawn a comic. This is how a typical feeding event goes:
Okay, so they don’t actually hit the rocks around the nest, but they do often miss completely. We had one bird do this five time before successfully entering the nest to feed it’s chicks. Pretty amusing to watch! The birds are mostly bringing back sculpins, with the occasional larger, silvery fish (possibly sand lance?) and even one squid/octopus (it was pretty droopy and hard to identify). We’re watching two nests and so far only one is bringing food back. We can’t see into the nests, but we’re guessing, based on the comings and goings of the adults, that there might be eggs in the as-of-yet-unfed nest. So perhaps we will have more bird antics to update you with soon.
In other news, one of our pelagic cormorant nests fledged today! Two chicks were still in the nest, but the other two were swimming around in the water below, and occasionally taking brief test flights. The babies are growing up!