Another post from Chris on Bird Island. Terrific place, and even more so in nesting season!
The Sooty Tern colony is now densely packed with birds. The first birds that laid are now about half way through their 28-day incubation period and these parents are already becoming more aggressive towards us as we visit our study plots. Our ankles are being regularly pecked, sometimes drawing blood, and more and more we experience adult Sooty Terns settling on our heads or, more frequently, delivering a heavy blow with their feet, bills or even deliberately flying into our heads with the full force of their diving bodies. This behaviour will intensify as incubation progresses toward the hatching of the egg. This is their defence against human intruders.
This determination to protect the egg is immensely useful to us as researchers, since it results in the nesting birds being remarkably…
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