BIRDS OF NEW ENGLAND AND EASTERN NEW YORK - HOFFMANN

Previous Page - Table of Contents - Next Page

GANNETS: FAMILY SULIDÆ

[NORTHERN] GANNET. Sula bassana
35.00 in. Tail 9.50 in. Bill 4.00 in.

Ad.— Entire bird white, except the ends of the quill-feathers which are black; the head and neck are yellowish when seen at close range. Im.— Upper parts brownish; under parts lighter; a white band across the tail.

The Gannet breeds on a few rocky cliffs in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and occurs as a rather uncommon migrant in May, and again in October and November, off the coast of New York and New England. A few Gannets winter off Long Island Sound. Monomoy Point, eight miles from Chatham, Mass., is an excellent place to observe them, as they fish over the shoals known as the Shovels. The adult birds are as large as a goose, pure white, except the tips of the wings, which are black for some distance. Immature birds look almost black; only the under parts and a band across the tail are light-colored. In a large flock there are birds in intermediate stages of plumage. The old birds are unmistakable; in the sunlight their pure white looks almost luminous. In any plumage the habit of diving headlong into the water from a height of from seventy-five to a hundred feet will distinguish them from any other large bird that goes in flocks. When flying, the long head and neck extend in front and the long tail out behind, giving them a very different appearance from that of a gull.


Previous Page - Table of Contents - Next Page