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Archive for February 13, 2020

2020—Alcatraz

The Spanish word for Gannet is Alcatraz. Although there are no Gannets on the west coast of the United States, an island in San Francisco Bay was named Alcatraces (plural of Alcatraz) by Spanish Explorer Juan Manual de Ayala in 1775 probably because he mistook Pelicans on the island for Gannets. Years after its misnomer, the now shuttered infamous federal prison known as Alcatraz, once home to the likes of Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly, was established on the island. Thousands of miles away from Alcatraz Island, on cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Cape St. Mary’s, New Foundland Northern Gannets flourish in their nesting communities. Tens of thousands of the large birds congregate during the few months of the nesting season before returning to their life at sea. The birds have to look closely to figure out where their nest site and mate are on the crowded rock.