2023—Coming in for a Landing

Almost every exposed surface of Bird Rock, a huge sea stack at Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve in Newfoundland, including its sheer cliff face, is inhabited during breeding season by Northern Gannets and other seabirds. To us, they all look the same but to a Northern Gannet, their instincts identify their small site and their mate so they know where to land. The problem is the actual landing. We watched and followed quite a few as they circled again and again before finally extending their large webbed feet and settling onto the rock. For the most part, the landings were not at all graceful.

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