The blue-footed booby ((Immature as it may be, the fact that only two bird species dominate the island and that their names are so divergent from one another is unendingly funny to me. One has ‘Magnificent’ in it’s moniker, the other has ‘Booby’. I have done no research to determine how these animals were named, but I like to imagine it was something like this (reminiscent of a scene from the movie 'Almost Heroes' for those who have seen it)….
[1600’s, a majestic clipper spots Isla Plata from afar and makes landfall. The captain, a pompous man dressed in full naval regalia, strides upon the deck and gathers his men.]
Captain Frederick: “We have discovered yet another isle for the glory of England! I claim this place in the name of the Queen!”
[The gathered men wearily cheer]
Captain Frederick: “Observe the noble black and white bird who lands gracefully on our deck! As I am the first civilized man to observe such a species, it is my right to name it! Henceforth, this animal shall be called ‘The Magnificent Frigatebird!’”
[The men cheer, even more wearily than before]
Captain Frederick: “There is another avian species inhabiting this small piece of land, that with those notably colored feet. I shall call it-“
[First Officer Jacobs gently interrupts the Captain]
First Officer Jacobs: “Excuse me sir, but the men were wondering, as you’ve named so many different things on our long and successful journey, if you might grace Willy with the opportunity to decide this bird’s official title?”
Captain Frederick: “’Drunk’ Willy? The cook?”
First Officer Jacobs: “Yes sir. You see, the men have grown quite fond of him, he entertains them with his lurid tales of debauchery and excess. They want to honor him with this task. You see how the bird stumbles oddly, staring manically this way and that? He’s an odd bird, much like Drunk Willy himself! Indeed, to name such a ridiculous creature would be below the status of a dignified man such as yourself….”
[Captain Frederick considers this for a moment]
Captain Frederick: “Yes, you are right. I have no interest in this idiot of an animal. Bring that madman Willy up from the galley, he will name this bird.”
[The men cheer with true vigor and meaning. Drunk Willy appears on deck. Rotund, slightly cross-eyed, dirty stubble covering his face, he looks at the Captain.]
Captain Frederick: “William, you may name this strange creature.”
Drunk Willy: “I git to name it eh? Alrite. Dat funny lil one with da blue feet o'er there?”
Captain Frederick: “Yes.”
[Drunk Willy looks off into the horizon for a moment. He considers what he values most in life, what a man like him strives for and finds joy in encountering]
Drunk Willy: “BOOBY! Da Blue-footed Booby!”
[The men cheer wildly. Captain Frederick shakes his head in disgust.])) is an absurdity of nature. It is weird and exotic and unintentionally hilarious. It looks like something an imaginative child would draw, like something that shouldn't actually exist outside of a cartoon. The fact that there are things like this, a crazed-looking bird flying around a tiny island thousands of miles away from where I'm from, is the reason why I travel. I didn't know anything about this. I didn't know that this existed. It almost angers me. How many more things are there like this zany bird with the Dr. Seuss feet? How many more beautifully weird things do I not know about? I cannot accept not trying to seek these things out, all these little treasures sprinkled throughout the big world. No person can get to them all, I know that. But every time I encounter such a strange gem of nature or culture or just plain unexpectedness out in some far-flung corner of the earth, it strengthens my resolve to go further, to keep looking. I'll be damned if I'm not going to try and find as many of these fascinating oddities as I can.
A male trying to impress a potential girlfriend. The blue-footed boobies is nervous on the ground - it walks like a drunk trying to navigate a beach wearing flippers - which makes the mating ritual all the more hilarious.
I was excited to see my first blue-footed booby.
A shy young male - the more neon and rich the blue, the younger the booby. The older birds have more of a pastel coloring.