The importance of names
A high pitched whistle carries across the waves of the Bristol Channel.
It's a call I've heard before.
I've heard it on the top of the ferry to Rosslare, 13 decks above the sea.
I've heard it on my home cliffs of Lundy,
where the call pierces the sounds of wave and wind,
Where it pierces the concerted clamour of gulls and auks, of Kittiwakes and Fulmars.
It's the call of a Guillemot chick calling to its dad across the wide sea.
It's the call that keeps them together while they learn and they teach,
while, now flightless, they float and swim.
Identifying the individual
I'd sat on the west coast of Lundy a month ago when "Ebenezer" and
"Obsession" had their first taste of Sandeel or Sprat.
Neighbouring eggs were starting to hatch.
The chicks-in-the-egg were calling to their parents,
learning and responding to their parents' calls.
Beat Tschanz described (in German) how chicks learn their parents calls while
still in the egg.
In order to translate the language of Guillemots I had to learn enough German to
translate his words.
Slowly, I made progress using online translation, tempered by my observations
of these birds.
During hatching, according to Tschanz, chicks call to their parents who call back
and rotate the egg.
Their parents' calls encourage the chick to chip at its eggshell, which hastens
the hatching process.
Feeding the correct chick (Tschanz)
The names of Tschanz's chicks:
One voice in the crowd
- Beatrice, Berthi,
- Gisela, Gunvor,
- Heribert, Hubertus,
- Irene, Isidor,
- Kasimir, Kaspar, Kilian, Köbi,
Umberto Eco might describe the sounds of the colony, the loomery, the bazaar
from the perspective of an ant crawling through the bent grass and Yorkshire Fog,
the Thrift and lichens that coat the coarse, crystalline granite cliffs.
While crawling past tussock, burrow, crevice and ledge, it might hear:
the murmuring of Guillemots,
the guttural growls of Razorbills,
the ummmms and aahs of Puffins,
the ululations of Gulls,
the catterwauls of Kittiwakes,
the chuckles of Fulmars,
the pizzicato peeping of Oystercatchers.
Through this soundscape the chicks start their leaving calls,
and each father must learn to recognise only one call among the many.
Finding each other on the sea (Greenwood)
Lengagne, T., Harris, M.P., Wanless, S., & Slater, P.J.B. (2004) "Finding
your mate in a seabird colony: contrasting strategies of the Guillemot Uria
aalge and King Penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus" Bird Study 51(1):25-33
Tschanz, B. (1968) "Trottellummen: Die Entstehung der persönlichen
Beziehungen zwischen Jungvogel und Eltern " Zeitschrift fur Tierpsychologie 4 Beiheft 1-103
Greenwood, J.J.D. (1964) "The fledging of the Guillemot Uria aalge with
notes on the Razorbill Alca torda" Ibis 106:469-481
Greenwood, J.J.D. (1963) "First-flighting in Auks" Annual Report of the
Lundy Field Society 1962 15:18
Individual Guillemots on Lundy
- GU:STPH2016Ac "Argus" Egg 25/6-12/6, Chick 15/6-3/7, Fledged
- GU:STPH2016Bc "Brunel" Chick 15/6-3/7, Fledged
- GU:STPH2016Cc "Castaway" Egg 8/6?, 12/6?, Chick 19/6-3/7, Fledged
- GU:STPH2016Dc "Datchet" Egg 8/6?, Chick 17/6-3/7, Fledged
- GU:STPH2016Ec "Ebenezer" Egg 25/6-2/6, Chick 12/6-3/7, Fledged
- GU:STPH2016Je Egg lost 15/6
- GU:STPH2016Fc "Fearless" Egg 25/6-15/6?, Chick 17/6-3/7, Fledged
- GU:STPH2016Ge Egg
- GU:STPH2016Im "Inis"
- GU:STPH2016Ic "Islander"
- GU:STPH2016Oc "Obsession" Chick lost 24/6
- GU:STPH2016Qc "Quatre Vents"
- GU:STPH2016Sc "Siren"
- GU:STPH2015Ac "Ascog"
- GU:STPH2015Bc "Belmont"
- GU:STPH2015Cc "Cawood"
- GU:STPH2015Dc "Dutton"
- GU:STPH2015Ec "Elton"
- GU:STPH2015Gc "Gothic"
- GU:STPH2015Ic "Ingestre"
- GU:STPH2015Nc "Nicolle"
- GU:STPH2015Oc "Obriss"
- GU:STPH2015Pc "Princelet"
- GU:STPH2015Qc "Queen Anne"
- GU:STPH2015Rc "Rosslyn"
- GU:STPH2015Sc "Shute"
- GU:STPH2014Ac "Aplite" fledged 8th, 9th or 10th July
- GU:STPH2014Bc "Basalt" fledged 8th, 9th or 10th July
- GU:STPH2014Cc "Copper" fledged 6th or 7th July
- GU:STPH2014Dc "Dolerite" fledged 8th, 9th or 10th July
- GU:STPH2014Ec "Erratic"fledged 17th, 18th, 19th or 20th July
- GU:STPH2014Fc "Feldspar" fledged 6th or 7th July
- GU:STPH2014Ge ignored egg 8th July
- GU:STPH2014Im(etal) Male parent of "Igneous". (sexed by non-attendance after fledging)
- GU:STPH2014Ic "Igneous" fledged 8th, 9th or 10th July
- GU:STPH2014Mc "Mica" fledged 11th, 12th or 13th July
- GU:STPH2014Nc "Neolithic" Failed post-fledging
- GU:STPH2014Oe Egg (chick?) lost before 29th June
- GU:STPH2014Pe Egg (or chick) lost before 21st June
- GU:STPH2014Qc "Quartz" fledged 6th or 7th July
- GU:STPH2014Rc "Regolith" fledged 4th or 5th July
- GU:STPH2014Sc "Struvite" fledged 8th, 9th or 10th July
- GU:STPH2014T? no egg seen, phantom brooding
- GU:STPH2013B "Bevil"
- GU:STPH2013C "Charlie"
- GU:STPH2013E "Eleanor"
- GU:STPH2013F "Felix"
- GU:STPH2013G "Grenville"
- GU:STPH2013H "Harman"
- GU:STPH2013I "Irwin"
- GU:STPH2013N "Neville"
- GU:STPH2013Q "Qawsar"
- GU:STPH2013R "Rene"
- GU:STPH2013S "Stanley"
- GU:STPH2012Bc "Bravo"
- GU:STPH2012Cc "Charlie"
- GU:STPH2012Ec "Echo"
- GU:STPH2012Fc "Foxtrot"
- GU:STPH2012Hc "Hotel"
- GU:STPH2012Ic "India"
- GU:STPH2012Nc "November"
- GU:STPH2012Oc "Oscar"
- GU:STPH2012Pc "Papa"
- GU:STPH2012Qc "Quebec"
- GU:STPH2012Sc "Sierra"
- GU:STPH2008Bc "Beatrice"
- GU:STPH2008Cc "Cäcilia"
- GU:STPH2008Ic "Isidor"
- GU:STPH2008Nc "Nadia"
- GU:STPH2008Oc "Ottokar"
- GU:STPH2008Pc "Pauline"
- GU:STPH2008Qc "Qusitus"
- GU:STPH2008Rc "Romulus"
- GU:STPH2008Sc "Samuel"
- GU: 74A white on BLUE
- GU: 67A black on YELLOW
- GU: 04M underlined white on BLUE seen 31/05/2012
- GU: 058 underlined black on YELLOW seen 20/06/2012
- GU: 510 underlined on RED seen by Shaun Barnes 16/6/2014
- GU: black on YELLOW seen 16/6/2014
- ??? underlined white on BLUE seen 01/07/2014
- GREEN seen 08/07/2014
- GU: 301 underlined black on YELLOW seen 03/06/2016
- GU: 545 underlined white on RED seen 03/06/2016