I’ve only ever seen one young gannet. I have no idea how old it was but it was flying by itself over Eastern Beach. I’ve always wanted to see some of the younger ones. At Point Danger, I got my wish.
It was phenomenal. Nothing compares to seeing the young of a species you are obsessed with. The birds were of varying ages and the parents were so doting. It was fascinating, especially as it is quite likely these chicks will be abandoned.
They had attempted breeding earlier in the season but it had been predated by foxes. It’s somewhat disturbing. Why put all that effort into raising chicks if you are just going to abandon them? Wouldn’t it make sense to skip a season and conserve energy?
It was also interesting to learn about the eggs. They are really small, the size of a hens egg. Apparently the kelp and pacific gulls steal and eat a lot of the eggs. I *never* would have learned this much just observing the colony by my own, or watching the ones at Popes Eye. I’d love to learn more about gannets or photograph a complete breeding cycle, but I’m not sure that is possible.
The early life story is quite interesting, though.
After 43 days a blind, naked chick hatches, and is fed and cared for by both parents.
The chicks grow rapidly. In the first week they develop white fluffy down, which is replaced during their second and third months by juvenile plumage. By 14 weeks the chicks weigh 3 kilograms, half a kilogram more than the parents, and they begin flapping and stretching their wings for hours each day.
via Te Ara
Below are the photos of the chicks that I saw. I’ll be providing many more updates over the coming days.