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Posts Tagged ‘Birds — Blue-footed booby’

Blue-footed booby ... Photo courtesy Wikimedia

The large white and brown bird with the blue feet didn’t recognize my right to the hiking path. Its home here in The Galapagos Islands, where man has not yet imposed his predatory nature, let it assume it was my equal.

I stopped about a foot away and was quickly mesmerized as the two of us, human and bird, stared eye-to-eye. My birding knowledge finally kicked in, however, and I identified the bird in front of me as a male blue-footed booby. The sex-distinguishing clue was that the pupil in its pale yellow eye was smaller than the pupil of the bird sitting on two eggs in a nest beside the path. I assumed the two birds were mates.

 As these birder thoughts filtered through my brain, the booby blocking my way lifted his right foot and gazed quizzically at me. I didn’t move. He put the right foot down and lifted his left foot and bobbed his head a few times. I smiled at him, and he repeated the maneuvers, the same ones I assumed he had used to woo his breeding female.

 When he lifted his left foot for the third time, I lifted my right foot in reply. For the next couple of minutes he and I continued this Hokey Pokey. It might have gone on longer except the rest of the tour group caught up.

 “Don’t tease the bird,” our guide said when he saw me.

“I’m not,” I replied. “He wanted to dance with me.”

 But since I could feel a thread of impatience coming from the people behind me, I moved off the path and started around the booby. We had been warned not to touch any of the Galapagos animals.

 The booby had no such compulsive restraint. He reached out and gave my leg a quick, non-threatening peck as I passed by him. It felt both like a good-bye handshake, and an invitation to “come back and dance with me.”

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