2023—Town Crier

In the spring at Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve in Newfoundland, seabirds nest on Bird Rock and the surrounding cliffs in large colonies numbering in the tens of thousands. Although the largest colony of nesters is Northern Gannets, the Black-legged Kittiwakes fill the cliffside with nests as well. Kittiwakes (there is also a Red-legged Kittiwake) are small gulls that supposedly got their common name because their call sounds like their name. I didn’t pick up on that at Bird Rock but perhaps the cacophony of calls from Northern Gannets, Common Murres, mixed with the Kittiwakes, and intermingled with the intermittent blare of the fog horn kept me from discerning their call. This Kittiwake, looking a bit like a town crier, stopped on a rock near me last week, and called, making its presence known to others in the area. It soon left to join other Kittiwakes soaring along the cliffs and gathering grasses from the hillsides for their nests.

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