Northern Gannet

Hey guys welcome back. Today we have a large and powerful seabird of the north Atlantic; the northern gannet. Gannets are strictly seabirds, rarely, if ever, found inland. Although they can be found as far south as the Gulf of Mexico in the winter, they breed in the north Atlantic and can be seen well off shore. In fact, in North America there are only 6 breeding colonies, off the shores of the Canadian maritime provinces.

Northern gannets in the Atlantic Ocean. Ft. Tilden, Rockaway, NY

With a wingspan of six feet, gannets are some of the largest seabirds you’ll see, especially in their range. Northern gannets are the northern cousin of the boobies which are found in more tropical waters. Gannets are white with black wingtips and a golden hue on their head. They are also equipped with excellent eyesight, and adaptations to be able to see under water immediately. Under water? Oh yeah, gannets hunt by flying over the ocean, and diving straight down into the water. They have the capability of diving quite deep with some individuals being recorded as diving over 70 feet!

Northern gannets in flight. Ft. Tilden, Rockaway, NY

Although most gannets stay well off shore, some individuals do come close enough to shore to see. My first gannets were in December at Ft. Tilden, a park in Rockaway, NY right along the Atlantic Ocean. I was looking for winter sea ducks when I noticed these white specks flying around offshore. It was really cool seeing them fly around, diving into the frigid ocean. On my most recent trip to NYC last February, my friend Marieke and I took a trip to Breezy Point, and while watching scoters in the ocean, one northern gannet flew right overhead! It was an awesome sight to see one that close! Well, the next couple of birds are from that cold day trip to Rockaway. Next up, a shorebird that loves being chased by waves on the beach. See you then!

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