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The two creatures most visitors most look forward to seeing on a trip to the Galapagos Islands, are the giant tortoises and the blue-footed boobies.

We were amazed by how close we could get to the blue-footed boobies. When our tour group of approximately twenty people jumped out our inflatable boats and scrambled up the beach, we thought we would have to hike a ways and then maybe see a few birds, if we were lucky. We couldn’t have been more wrong. We saw dozens of guano ringed blue-footed booby nests ten feet from the beach.

As if waiting for us to arrive, the mating pairs started their elaborate bowing and flapping courting ritual. They are not afraid of people and are happy to show off their brilliant blue feet. They pick up their feet and dance around like fools, hence their name which comes from the Spanish word bobo (meaning stupid). Their outlandish foot color is actually a sign of health and good breeding stock. A sick or old bird would have dull feet.

A common souvenir of a trip to the Galapagos is a bright blue enameled webbed foot for a charm bracelet or necklace. There are also many t-shirts that take advantage of the multiple meanings of the word booby in English.

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photo – Ted Hein ’08

Interesting factoid: Blue-footed boobies are considered “opportunistic breeders.” In other words, they lay their eggs whenever there is a good amount of fish available and lay several eggs at a time. The blue-footed boobies are known to lay their eggs several days apart and engage in siblicide. If the first chick is strong and there is plenty of fish to eat, he will kill the younger chicks when they hatch. If the first chick is not strong enough, the younger chicks will fight for their survival.

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Source material:
National Geographic
Galapagos Seabirds


Would you like to be part of Midge & Snig’s adventure in the Galapagos? Want to have your name (or any name you choose) in my next book? From now until the end of April, everyone who follows my blog, signs up for my newsletter, or leaves a comment, will be entered in a drawing for the chance to name the cruise ship featured in the book.

This post in part of the AtoZ Challenge. Please click on the sunflower AtoZ icon in the sidebar to go to the official list of participating blogs. This year my theme is the Galapagos Islands. I am in the process of writing the first of my Midge & Snig mystery series set in the islands. In my research, I have come across a plethora of interesting facts and images. The vast majority of my research won’t get included in the book, but it’s fun to share what I’ve learned with you all.

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