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1. How do seabirds get rid of salt in their drinking water?
Ans. Seabirds drink salt water and process it into drinking water bygetting rid of the excess salt through their nostrils and excreting a water-freeand very white waste uric acid.
2. What is preen and how is it used by seabirds?
Ans. Seabirds have light bones to help them take flight and to floaton the water when they land on the sea. Their bodies contain a lot of fatand oil and have special glands near their tails which secrete an oil knownas preen.
3. Are birds warm blooded and what is their temperature range?
Ans. Birds are warm blooded and their temperature ranges between 39 41oC.
4. What are four things seabirds do to swim underwater?
Ans. Birds must be able to reduce their buoyancy when they dive underwater.To do this, they exhale air from their lungs, squeeze air from out undertheir skin with their wings, tuck their feathers in close to streamlinetheir bodies, slow their heart rates and squeeze oxygen out of their bloodto supply their brains.
5. Describe a wading bird's feet.
Ans. Flat ad webbed
6. How have Asian fishermen used cormorants to fish?
Ans. Fishermen in parts of Asia fish with trained cormorants by placinga ring around the bird's neck and attaching a line. They set the bird freeto catch a fish and regurgitate it for its owner.
7. Name one scavenging bird and one ocean bird.
Ans. Scavanger - seagull, ocean bird - albatrosses
8. Describe how a pelican feeds.
Ans. A pelican feeds by dipping its bill into the water then throwingits head back, bringing the bill full of water forward and upward. Onceout of the water, it presses its bill against its chest, pushing all thewater out through its bottom jaw. Food trapped in the bill is then swallowed.Food can be stored in the bird's digestive system and regurgitated laterto feed its young back at the nesting site. Groups of pelicans have alsobeen observed encircling and herding fish to a specific area where the birdscooperatively take turns to fish.
9. Where do shearwaters spend most of their day?
Ans. Shearwaters are found around Australia and New Zealand. They spendmost of their day fishing at sea, leaving early in the morning from largegroups called colonies.
10. What problems can occur when gulls or other species overpopulatean area?
Ans. Seagulls cause problems to planes at airports and in large numberscompete for the food of many local species.
11. What simple things can we do to reduce the chance of overpopulationoccurring?
Ans. Gulls can be controlled simply by not feeding them, by taking yourrubbish home from the beach and by separating out food from rubbish beforeyou send it to the dump. Try using a compost bin at home, so that the foodthat you do send to the tip does not encourage gull numbers to increase.
12. What is the record for the longest bird flight?
Ans. The longest flight recorded was by an arctic tern which nested inthe Arctic and then flew to within sight of the Antarctic for the winter(summer in the southern hemisphere) a round trip of 38 000 km!
13. Which bird is found in polar waters and swims underwater to feed?
Ans. The penguins are found in the polar waters of Antarctica all yearround where they swim underwater to feed on fish in freezing conditions.
14. How do gannets use pressure systems in New Zealand?
Ans. Gannets seem to be able to detect changes in weather pressure systems.In New Zealand, when the wind is blowing a westerly on an incoming highpressure system, gannets will leave their colony using the offshore windsto carry them out to sea. When the weather patterns change as the low pressuresystem moves over the country, they will then use the easterly winds ofa low pressure system to help them return to shore.
15. What is guano and why is it important to humans?
Ans. Seabird nesting sites in the some parts of the world have been inuse for millions of years and, in places where rainfall is low, the accumulatedwastes (called guano) build up into thick layers of super concentrated phosphate.Some guano deposits on rocky islands in the Pacific Ocean are up to 18 mthick which is mined by many counties as a source of fertilizer. Some coastalAfrican countries also have set up offshore wooden platforms as artificialguano islands which have become profitable sources of fertiliser. However,some scientists believe that mining guano interferes with the nesting patternsof seabirds.
16. Name any three dangers to seabirds.
Ans. Spilt oil and fuel from wrecked and unseaworthy tankers, relaxedquarantine laws resulting in the death of fish they depend on for food,unwary walkers blundering into nesting sites and damaging nests, eggs andyoung birds.
Based on an original exercise by Neil Vaughan Toormina SHS, Australia
1. Listen below are the early known nesting sites of the sooty shearwater.The year is the date that the site was first published as being scientificallysignificant.
Broughton Island, 1912
Lion Island, 1948
Montague Island, 1964
Bird Island, 1965
Boondelbah Island, 1973
Bowen Island, 1975
Tollgate Island, 1976
Cabbage Tree Island, 1976
Muttonbird Island, 1969
South Solitary Island, 1974
Using an atlas find these nest sites.
All are sites in Australia so use an Australian atlas. Sorry Kiwis, trya similar exercise on your local area.
2. Obtain a telescope or good pair of binocular and make a hide. A hideis a place you can build so birds don't see you. A good bird book will tellyou how to do this.
From your hide, make a regular observation of a bird rookery or roost.You may like to take photographs of the birds you observe.
See hides in bird books.
11. pecking order