Acme Novelty Library 2 by Chris Ware PDF

By Chris Ware

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18 the clutching fear that the promised landing on Bird Island somehow would be aborted. Then I got caught up in the business of photographing the ever-increasing numbers of Cape pigeons that drifted by on wind currents alongside the ship. When we were midway through lunch, several small islands loomed up in the fog—the Willis Islands, and just beyond, Bird Island. All the frustration of several weeks vanished. Streams of Cape pigeons kept circling our ship. An immense flock numbering into the hundreds alighted on the waters nearby when the anchor dropped at 13:30 hours.

In size alone they dwarfed their black-browed cousins. Not many adult wanderers were about this day, but many of their huge, heavybodied young squatted on or near nests that they had occupied for eight long months. Flowing unevenly from their dark body feathers were long strands of grayish down that shivered in the slightest breeze. One of these dark-plumaged chicks whined piteously in front of its white-plumaged parent. The old male responded by running up to the young bird with his enormous bill agape.

The two diving petrels looked so much alike that I could not separate them in the hand, let alone in the field. Peter, on the days following, carefully pointed out minute anatomical differences in body weight, bill structure, length of certain feathers, color patterns of the legs, and so on, though he apparently had little faith in plumage color characteristics previously described for the birds. On the other hand, ecological differences, according to Peter, were pronounced, especially with respect to habitat preferences and breeding schedules.

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Acme Novelty Library 2 by Chris Ware

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