Table of contents:
- Means of protection against enemies
The silly bird from the order of petrels got its name for its gullibility, as it is not at all afraid of a person. Fulmars are seabirds often confused with seagulls. They look very cute, but they are not as defenseless as they seem.
On the high seas they often fly with fishing ships, for which they received the name ship-followers - "following the ship".
The fulmar bird has a dense body measuring 45-48 centimeters. Wingspan - more than a meter. The body weight of a fulmar is 650-850 grams. The beak is curved at the end in the form of a hook. It is thinner and shorter than that of gulls. The beak can change its color. In spring and summer, it turns yellow with a light green tint, and in the autumn-winter period it acquires a dark green tint, which can be clearly seen in the photo of the silly below.
The plumage of the bird is hard and dense, only in the abdomen it is softer. Shedding happens once a year.
The fulmar's tail is slightly rounded at the end. This species of birds has large wings that have a pointed shape. This can be considered onphoto of a fulmar bird in flight.
The paws of this species of birds are quite strong, despite the small weight of the bird itself, and end with sharp claws.
The color of fulmars is of two types: dark and light. In the first variant, the head, neck and abdomen of the bird are white, and the back and tail are ashy. In the second case, the fulmar is painted in a gray-brown hue. But there are also various transitional color options. Already by the appearance of the chicks, you can determine the future tone of an adult.
The nostrils of birds are keratinized tubes. Through them, fools remove excess s alt from the body.
During the flight, which is particularly smooth, birds rarely flap their wings. From the outside, it looks like a plane taking off.
Adult emits a low trumpet cackle, sometimes similar to a croaking cry.
Today there are two kinds of fools. These are Fulmarus glacialis, which live in the northern hemisphere, and Antarctic - Fulmarus glacialoides. Representatives of these species are very similar to each other, only their habitat distinguishes them.
Common fulmars are common in the northern seas from the border of the polar ice to Britain. Previously, they were residents exclusively of the Far North, but recently they have spread far to the south, as their numbers have increased greatly.
Atlantic representatives live in a territory stretching from the pack ice in the south to tropical latitudes in the region of cold currents.
Fools are nomadic birds. During the migration periodthey move closer to the equator.
On land, birds live only during the nesting season, spending most of their lives at sea.
The basis of the diet of the fulmar is marine food: plankton, squid, shrimps, fish, jellyfish. If necessary, both carrion and fish waste are used as food. Plants can be consumed during the breeding season.
Fulls hunt on the surface of the reservoir, plunging their heads into the water to eye level. But they can dive to a depth of up to half a meter. Food is caught with the beak and swallowed whole.
It has been experimentally proven that fulmars can sense food up to three kilometers away.
These birds do not fly far from the coast, but try to feed themselves on fishing boats.
Fools are very voracious, they are able to swallow food weighing even half a kilogram. After a couple of hours, they are hungry again and ready to go in search of food.
Fully birds nest in flocks that can number in the thousands or in pairs on the rocky terrain of the islands. The male begins courtship while still in the water. He stretches his body up, flaps his wings and makes specific calls.
Then the male waits for some time until the chosen one makes a decision. After a pause, she gently clucks and hits him with her beak in agreement. The established couple stays together for the rest of their lives.
When the weather is calm, birds rest on the surface of the water. It's worth a little breeze to rise, fools like everyone elserepresentatives of petrels, soar into the air and can fly over quite considerable distances. They are active at any time of the day.
Fools perfectly maneuver during the flight, even in a strong storm they are able to follow the crest of the waves. On the ground, on the contrary, they move on their paws rather clumsily.
While in the aquatic environment, these birds are rather silent. You can hear their cry mainly during the mating season.
Means of protection against enemies
Despite the fact that silly people look very defenseless, they are not. When attacked by an enemy, they are able to defend themselves by shooting an oily liquid with an unpleasant odor from their beak. Even the chicks have sniper skills.
This substance is found in the proventriculus of a bird. It contains fatty acids and triglycerides. At low air temperatures, such a liquid turns into wax. It can be transparent to red-brown in color.
This method of protecting silly people not only has the effect of surprise and the ability to scare away with an unpleasant smell, but is also quite dangerous for the enemy. Getting on the bird's feathers and solidifying, the oily liquid sticks them together, which is why the bird can neither fly nor swim, which sometimes ends in death from hypothermia. The fools themselves do not suffer from this: they know how to clean their feathers from this substance.
The main purpose of the oily liquid is to serve as a kind of "fuel" and provide an abundance of bird energy during longflights. It is also used as food for chicks.
Hence the name Fulmarus came from, which in translation from Old Norse means full - "dirty", mar - "seagull".
In April, fulmars arrive at the breeding grounds and prepare to breed. Nests of fulmars are located in any part of the rock: from the foot to the top.
Unlike other representatives of petrels, these birds do not hide them. In fact, this is a small depression filled with grass. In May or early June, the female lays only one egg per season. It has a large shape and is white in color with small dark spots.
Individuals of both sexes take part in hatching offspring. Each of them spends about a week in the nest, replacing each other. The one who is free takes care of his livelihood in order to pass the next few days without food. In total, this process takes two months.
A newborn chick is fed once a day, which is quite enough for him. For 12-15 days, one of the parents is with him, warming his body with his warmth. Then the fulmar chick is left alone while the adults fly in search of food to feed it.
Fifty days later, the baby starts swimming lessons and learns to fly. As a rule, this takes about twenty days. Then, in September-October, the colony breaks up, and the birds scatter in different directions, keeping in small groups. They don't get used to the chosen onesnesting sites and change frequently.
Individuals of fulmar reach puberty at the age of at least 6-8 years. The life expectancy of these representatives of birds is more than forty years.
Despite the fact that fulmars are game birds, extinction does not threaten these birds. They are hunted on a small scale, as the meat is not considered tasty enough. An exception is the Umanaka region, where collection of fulmar eggs is common. Here, from mid-June to mid-August, hunting for them is prohibited.
The fulmar population is quite large. There are about three million representatives of this species in the Atlantic, and about four million individuals in the Pacific Ocean.