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Gannets on the Bass Rock (Part 5) Gannet behaviour

Discussion in 'Birds' started by alanhill, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. Another set of Atlantic gannet shots. Wherever you look on the island, there is so much going on. Pairs displaying to each other, neighbours squabbling, birds leaving and arriving - it's noisy and it's smelly, but that's the way gannets like it.

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    The basic rule is that there must always be one member of each pair in attendance at the nest, to protect the egg or chick from the gulls and to stop other gannets from taking over the site. The skypointing display tells this gannet's mate 'I'm leaving, so you must stay here until I get back'.

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    When a gannet returns to its mate, the male greets the female by biting her neck and they both perform the fencing display with their bills pointing upwards. This can last for several minutes.

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    Finally they settle down to mutual grooming, which is remarkably gentle. Male and female gannets are hard to distinguish, but the yellow colour on the head and neck of the females gets rather patchy as the season goes on: so I think the bird on the left of this pair is the female.

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  2. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Very nice shots Alan, particularly the close ups, great feather detail.

  3. TimK


    Apr 17, 2006
    Hong Kong, China
    Nice set, Alan! Gannets are beautiful. Reminds me of my New Zealand trip ! (Except that the NZ ones have light blue "eye shadows")
  4. Nice shots Alan!
  5. I'm glad you liked these close-ups. It's such fun to watch these big birds at close quarters.

  6. awesome series, and thanks for the education!
  7. great series alan. especially like the 3rd. these birds have sharp definition and are very attractive. may i ask where they were captured? db
  8. The Bass Rock is a small island in the Firth of Forth, not far from Edinburgh. It is home to ~12% of the world population of Atlantic gannets (there are photos of the island in the first thread in this series).
    Glad you liked the photos.

  9. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Love the story of them also...Thnx
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