Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Gannet Colony

I have almost completed the re-organization of my workspace and storage area and have started planning a new piece.   It is inspired by a gannet colony we visited on Ile Bonaventure and I am calling it "A Gannet Family Album".   Gannets are kind of goofy-looking birds when walking - with their blue eye ring and matching blue markings on their feet.   Their faces look painted on.    But they exhibit some interesting characteristics as these photos show.   Their nests consist of rows of lumps of earth which have been prepared carefully for their one egg.    The mother shows care and concern for the fluffy baby.   As we watched, one little one put its head into the mother's mouth to eat regurgitated food.   They can be fiercely territorial and will attack if another gannet unwittingly strays into their territory (see photo with 2 birds holding each other's bill - neither will let go until a third bird joined the fight and one managed to slip away.    Their courting rituals are graceful and captured often in art as they rise up and touch bills, wings outspread.    They also show reverence by bowing deeply.  I'm not sure of the purpose but it really looks very human like (or are we copying them?).   Apparently the partners winter separately in Florida and meet up the next spring back at the same colony (not a bad idea.  No wonder their relationships last).   They recognize each other by their voices (very similar to penguins I believe).  These behaviours and family groupings just called out to be part of my 'gannet family album'.    I plan to paint, applique and embroider this piece.  I'll posts the results.
See the blue eye ring