Douth African Gannets Near Capetown, South Africa

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
A glance at this scene might lead one to believe that he was looking over a lake with short waves chopping each other into whitecaps. This is only a small section of a great breeding ground of sea birds called gannets, on the south shores of Africa. Gannets are a kind of wild geese. They live in colder waters also, both in northern and southern latitudes. Off the British Isles they have 4 or 5 stations which they visit regularly. In the northern latitudes, these birds come about the first of April and leave in the fall when the young birds are ready to fly. On such ground as you see here they lay their eggs and hatch them. The mother birds lay one egg apiece, in a hollow place in the sand or among the rocks. Or they may bring sea weed from a long distance and build up a kind of nest. You will notice that gannets appear to be bigger than geese. They are; but they are not so heavy. They are built for flying and for diving. The plumage of the South African gannets is white, excepting the wings and tail, which are black. The white is mixed with a tawny color. A bit later they are covered with a milk-white down. Their first feathers are of a deep olive-brown. In the fall the birds start out on fishing trips. They fish in squadrons, one following directly behind the other in their flight. When they see a school of herring, the front bird closes his wings and falls directly down into the water. He seizes his fish, and rises from the water and drops in at the rear end of the flying line. Then the second bird drops likewise, and so on. Order is the first law in a fishing party of gannets. Keystone ID: 11994 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.