What can a dead end bird do?
On the steep rocky shores of the northern part and in some places on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, there are numerous colonies of unusual small (city pigeon-sized) birds. In the spring and summer periods, these settlements are very similar to the window of a toy store - this is how the sea bird looks a dead end.
Dead ends - "sea parrots"
The feathered, about which the story goes, has short wings, a small tail and a cheeky, like a hamster, large head. In black and white plumage, it looks like a penguin, but it has one bright distinguishing feature — a large, triangular, laterally compressed orange-red beak. Thanks to him, the dead end bird looks so elegant that it was even dubbed the “sea parrot”.
By the way, this beak is not always so beautiful. In winter, it becomes gray-green, but every spring the dead ends again return their irresistible. Researchers suggest that such a metamorphosis may be associated with the mating season and attempts to hit the imagination of the future partner with its beauty.
How does this bird hunt
The Atlantic Puffin hunts mainly small fish or marine invertebrates, because it is simply not able to swallow prey more than 2 cm wide. But the upper part of its beak is equipped with small spikes, thanks to which our sea hunter can hold up to ten fishes simultaneously and grab one more without the risk of losing the previous one. The rough, hard tongue of an angler also helps this. They bird presses the head of the fish to the upper sky.
Dead ends on the beach look very clumsy and clumsy, and in the water they change - these are excellent swimmers. They easily move under water, often-often waving their wings as if they are flying, and the legs, equipped with membranes, serve as a good steering wheel - this, by the way, allows birds to develop a speed of up to 2 m / s in the water column. No other bird can swim like this anymore!
By the way, dead ends are able to dive into water to a depth of 61 m! True, the anglers can stay there for only 20-30 seconds.
How a deadlock bird breeds
Where a deadlock lives, it is difficult to say unequivocally, because most of his life he spends at sea, resting on the waves, sometimes a hundred kilometers from the coast.
Throughout the cold winter the birds live on the water, and in the spring, with the beginning of the nesting season, they go to look for a place for laying.Interestingly, the height of the coastal cliffs for dead ends does not matter. The main thing is that there should be a sufficient layer of peat and humus.
Having found a suitable place, the couple proceeds to the construction of the future house. Dead ends with their luxurious beaks dig burrows in peat, in the form of a tunnel up to 3 m deep, which ends with a toilet area and a nesting chamber, and then line them with blade of grass and down. A female (which, by the way, does not differ in appearance from a male) lays a single rather large egg there.
Both parents hatch him in turn. By the way, the deadlock bird creates a pair for life (and it lives long enough - 20 years). And the nest builds in the same place. How does she find him among hundreds of the same? While this is not very clear. But there is an assumption that the dead ends have the ability to navigate even the magnetic fields of the Earth.
And here is the offspring!
After a month and a half of joint efforts, a new deadlock appears in the caring family. The entire body of the chick, except for a small white speck on the breast, is covered with black down, and even its beak is black.
Parents take turns flying for food for the baby.And his appetite, it should be noted, is excellent! So dead ends have to work hard for 40 days, while their beloved child grows up, it is full and pretty.
In order to lure the grown-up heir to the open space and force him to feed on his own, the birds resort to a pedagogical trick. They simply stop carrying food to the chick. And that in a couple of days does not withstand hunger and goes on its first flight.
Features of the deadlock
These birds also fly fast. In the air, they reach speeds of up to 88 km / h. True, with takeoff and landing, they have a hard time. A dead end bird is forced to jump from a steep bank in order to be able to fly, and at the same time it has to make up to 10 wing strokes in a second.
When landing, our flyer funnyly puts forward his paws and becomes like a plane that produces a landing gear, and landing often takes place on the stomach. By the way, the head of a gaping relative can act as an airfield for a dead end.
It is very interesting to watch how the parent who has flown in with the prey behaves. For some reason, he does not immediately go to the nest, but circles above the colony for 15-20 minutes, while making sounds similar to rumbling sounds.Then the breadwinner rushes to the hole, which serves as a signal to the second parent to start. Due to the fact that in the colony constantly someone takes off, and someone sits down - it looks like some kind of bird carousel.
What causes dead ends to behave this way is unclear. Perhaps they dry feathers or rejoice from a successful hunt, and maybe confuse predators who hunt them. These amazing birds still have a lot of mysteries to be solved by those who love nature.