I cannot believe that today is the official first day of spring, and this morning, as we were eating (aka devouring) our decadent weekend breakfast of banana chocolate pancakes, we heard the distinct call of the Bermuda Longtails outside.
These beautiful birds have become Bermuda's adopted national symbol. After having spent the entire winter at sea, the big sea birds picked the perfect day to come home to roost. The sun was shining, there was not a puff of air disturbing the waters, and life just dreamy. Longtails mate for life, which I always find so romantic, lay only a single reddish purple speckled egg each year, and spend the summer raising their chick before heading out to see once more in the autumn. I am so excited to have these elegant birds gracing our shores for this will be the first summer in our new house and therefore we have not yet seen this spectacular show of house hunting.
We heard the Longtails squawking it out as they fought for the best spots in the cliffs below our house, for the holes and crevices in the coastal cliffs and islands are where they nest each year. There is a housing crisis for these exquisite birds, whose feet are so small that they cannot walk on land. From too much shoreline development to increased predators and expanding population disturbance, not to mention pollution at sea and other large birds to competing for nests, Longtail numbers are decreasing each year. Of course, like everywhere else, global warming doesn't help when lower nest sites are flooded by rising sea levels and the devastation that hurricanes leave by destroying by filling in existing nests with rocks while other populated cliff faces collapse completely.
But hopefully this season will leave our cliffs unscathed and we will have the pleasure of watching the Longtails' spectacular flying shows just off the house and watch their little families grow. Below are the four pairs that were outside this morning. Just beautiful. We are so lucky to live in such an incredible place.