|Galapagos, Day 3|
Day 3 was "bird day," and was consumed by the avian life of Genovesa Island. Not fifteen minutes after our early morning landing on a white sand beach, we were surrounded by countless boobies, frigates, pelicans, and finches. The path wandered through the avian version of suburban sprawl, and we had to be careful not to blunder onto a nest. (This isn't actually that difficult, as a parent will quite forcefully honk at you if you get closer than about two feet.) Some parents covered newly-hatched chicks with their underbellies, some fed more mature children, and some boobies and frigates circled the settlement looking for mates.
It was here that the frigate birds earned the nickname "evil bastards." Younger males will circle nests, seeking to quite literally snatch food from the mouths of baby boobies and younger frigates. For this reason, feeding is a complicated matter. A parent begins by looking about cautiously while its child complains with hunger, until the coast is clear. The the parent's jaw flares wide and half-swallows the child's head in order to make sure that the offspring, and not some raiding frigate, will be fed. This thievery culminated in the most disturbing "tooth and claw" view of nature that I had on the trip.