Thursday, November 03, 2005

Frigatebird!



Another one from my sister's Caribbean cruise. She said that the Magnificent Frigatebirds (Fregata magnificens) followed the ship into port, and that she saw as many as thirty at a time.

These seabirds came well inland (to middle Alabama at least) during some of the recent hurricanes in the gulf. Charles Kennedy, president of the South Alabama Birding Association, spoke recently on Weekend Edition about hurricane birds. (His birdhouses are wonderful, by the way.) There's also an article about post-hurricane birding on the SABA site, here.

This bird is one of my favorites to see in flight. I'm not sure which is more exciting, a Frigatebird or a Swallow-tailed Kite. And a day when you see both is truly spectacular and rare.

7 comments:

Rexroth's Daughter said...

What a beautiful silhouette against a stunning sky. It must be amazing to see thirty Frigatebirds at one time. I'd love to have such an experience.

Ron said...

You can see frigatebirds in decent numbers from at least some of the Florida Keys -- at least you could in spring of 1980. We saw them from Sugarloaf Key and the Dry Tortugas. And they're incredible to see in flight.

Swallow-tailed kite is still my favorite bird ever. The first time I saw one I was literally struck dumb. Really. Couldn't get the word out to tell Joe the bird was overhead.

(Close runner-up to both these was the tropicbirds that nest on the cliffs in Kilauea Crater in Hawai'i -- angels in Hell.)

Floridacracker said...

You can see Frigate birds at Cedar Key...(which is North FL,not THE keys). They hang out during the summer at Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge. The swallotail kites are thick here and form huge colonies before that spiral up in groups of 20 or more. Spectacular against a blue sky.

Nate said...

I won't try to compete, but I love the red-tailed hawks in my East L.A. neighborhood.

Without a zoom lense, I doubt I'll ever be able to get a good picture to share.

But there's definitely something extraordinary about seeing a majestic bird in flight, wings spread, gliding or swooping.

Our red-tails battle the crows in the sky and we get these spectacular aerial battles, or else I just watch them circle and circle solitarily, seeming like guardians of the sky.

Ontario Wanderer said...

The bird is neat but I love the sky behind it!

Rurality said...

In the days before we had the farm - more money and not so many critters - we used to go down to Dauphin Island several times a year, and would sometimes see both birds there.

During migration there are always a lot of other birders there too, especially the weekends of the Audubon meetings. Once a Frigatebird was flying over the Shell Mounds, a popular spot there. Some man yelled out "Frigatebird!" at the top of his lungs. So now whenever we see one we have to do that too. (OK we don't really yell but we pretend that we are yelling.) One of our many strange birding rituals.

As for Swallow-tailed Kites, we were once driving south on I-65 and saw a bunch of them... It was just at an exit, so we pulled off and stopped and were treated to a dozen or so STKs gliding around over a field. Luckily we were on our way to Dauphin Island at the time, and had our binoculars with us. So wonderful.

Colleen said...

I'm so jealous! I want to see BOTH of those birds. I'll bet that red throat on the Magnificent Frigatebird is stunning.

The only bird that I've seen that has left me speechless (and with a lump in my throat) was when we went to Arizona and saw a California Condor come gliding in to land below us. (we were at the grand canyon)