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  • When Arctic tern chicks hatch the parents will protect them for a few days at the nest site.
  • Eventually the chicks will leave the nest site and hide amongst the rocks or vegetation.
  • They can recognize the calls of their parents and come forward to accept fish when the parents call.
  • Why is this important?
  • This helps the chick avoid predation by only coming into the open when a parent has food for it.

Arctic Tern with Calls and Chick from Bob Armstrong on Vimeo.

  • When visiting Arctic Tern colonies I have noticed dead chicks laying beside fish that would be much too large for the chicks to swallow.
  • Arctic tern parents typically do not break up fish or regurgitate food for the chicks.
  • So the size of fish they bring for their chicks is extremely important.
  • This video illustrates how this can happen.
  • One could speculate that the parent with the fish too large for the chicks had another motive since it ended up eating it.
  • Eventually the other parent brings the right size fish for the chick.
  • How or why does this sort of thing happen?
  • It could be related to the inexperience of the parent. Perhaps this is their or its first time nesting.
  • It could also be related to the availability of certain size fish.

Arctic Tern feeds its chick too large of a fish from Bob Armstrong on Vimeo.

  • This video shows a couple of ways that American Dippers forage for aquatic insects in streams.
  • Sometimes they will swim out over a pool and dive, using their wings, and grab caddisfly larvae at the bottom of the pool.
  • Since most of these larvae have cases made out of stones or wood the dipper must get rid of the case.
  • You can see how it does this in the video. It grabs the caddisfly by the head and shakes it until the case falls off. Then it eats it.
  • Another method of finding aquatic insects is to turn over stones in the stream and grab the insects living under them.
  • They also can grasp the substrate with their very strong feet and eat the insects that may be living on top of the stones.
  • To learn more about these fascinating birds look at Southeast's Aquatic Songbird (American Dipper) by Bob Armstrong and Marge Hermans

Songbird Feeds Underwater from Bob Armstrong on Vimeo.

  • Some gulls, such as this Mew Gull, move their feet rapidly up and down.
  • This creates an upwelling which helps bring food from the bottom to the surface where the bird can get it.
  • This type of activity is very common in streams where salmon are spawning.
  • By doing this the gulls bring salmon eggs laying on the substrate to the surface.
  • In this case, however, this gull is standing in an intertidal area.
  • This activity brings tiny Macoma clams from the bottom to the water surface where the gull can grab them.

Dancing Gull from Bob Armstrong on Vimeo.

  • This video shows the numerous maggots (larvae) from Blow Flies crawling about and feeding on salmon remains.
  • A couple of ravens are helping themselves to the nutritious maggots.
  • To learn more about these maggots go to the video titled Salmon and Blow Flies in Alaska.

Blow Fly Maggots and Common Ravens from Bob Armstrong on Vimeo.

  • This video helps demonstrate the value of Blow Fly maggots for birds.
  • Two of these crows are juveniles. So far I have documented 12 different species of birds feeding on these maggots.
  • Of interest is that almost all of the birds have been recently fledged juveniles.
  • These maggots are very nutritious and provide these juvenile birds with a good source of food.
  • Why is this so important?
  • Most recently fledged birds are fairly inept at obtaining their food.
  • The slow moving, abundant, nutritious maggots provides an easy to get and important food for these juveniles.
  • For more information go to the video titled Salmon and Blow Flies in Alaska.
  • Black Oystercatchers are common nesting birds along most of the southern coastal areas of Alaska.
  • They usually nest on small islands but in some areas, such as Glacier Bay, they may nest along the rocky mainland shores.
  • The female typically lays one to three eggs.
  • This nest has three eggs so the "clutch" is complete.
  • This video was taken on a hot sunny day in Juneau.
  • You can notice the adult opening its mouth and panting to help cool down.
  • Since black feathers tend to absorb rather than reflect the sunlight it is probably too warm.
  • Both sexes incubate. At first mostly female, but male equalizes duty later in incubation period. Eggs are covered 90–98% of time.
  • Oystercatchers may select the same nest site several years in a row.
  • We observed one tagged oystercatcher that nested in the exact same spot for seven years.

Black Oystercatcher Incubates Eggs from Bob Armstrong on Vimeo.

Connections with Red-breasted Sapsuckers 2 from Bob Armstrong on Vimeo.

  • This video shows just a few of the many benefits that Red-breasted Sapsuckers have for other creatures in Alaska.
  • Sapsuckers typically drill holes in the bark of trees. Sugary sap wells up in these holes and the sapsuckers lap it up with their brushy tongues.
  • This video shows Rufous Hummingbirds, Yellow-rumped Warblers, many insects, and Red Squirrels taking advantage of the sap.
  • You will also see some interaction between the parent sapsucker and one of its young. I think it is telling it to go drill your own holes.
  • To learn more about these connections open up Natural Connections in Alaska and go to page 50-51.
  • This video is an example of the probable play fullness of ravens.
  • In this instance the eagle was chewing on a piece of wood.
  • The raven harassed the eagle and eventually took it away from it.
  • Then it continued to harass the eagle and even pulled its tail.
  • To learn more about members of the Corvid family look at Crazy Corvids by Bob Armstrong and Marge Hermans
  • Why would the raven take away something from an eagle that was inedible?

Raven Harasses Eagle over a Piece of Wood from Bob Armstrong on Vimeo.

  • This video demonstrates some of the ways in which marmots play.
  • In, at least Southeast Alaska, the Hoary Marmot resides along some of our saltwater beaches and in the alpine.
  • Both the beach and alpine marmots play a lot.
  • This video was taken along a beach in the Juneau area.
  • The group probably involves both parents, one youngster from last year (a teenager) and one first year marmot.
  • The one laying down is probably the adult male (dad) because they do not normally take care of the children.
  • I suspect the largest one standing is the adult female (mom).
  • Marmots are considered "true hibernators" to learn more about them look at Chilling Out How Warm-Blooded Animals Survive Southeast Winters by Bob Armstrong and Marge Hermans
  • Then answer the question how does hibernation benefit marmots?
  • You can also learn more by looking at Whistlers on the Mountains (marmots) by Bob Armstrong and Marge Hermans

Marmots Love to Play from Bob Armstrong on Vimeo.