I’m not always looking down into the water. The skies above are filled with seabirds. Seabirds form colonies of thousands of birds. Parents first raise their chicks on land. When the babies can fly, they fly together to the ocean.
The best-known birds on the island are Atlantic puffins. They have bright orange-red bills and feet. Puffins use them to dig underground burrows. There, protected from predators, they raise a single chick.
Puffins are strong fliers and excellent swimmers. They take to the sky. Then they dive into the water and get their fill of fish.
Puffins are a familiar sight on Gull island.
Northern gannets are strong flyers. They nest on the sides of cliffs.
Another winged visitor is the northern gannet. It is slender and shaped like an airplane. It holds out its wings and glides with the wind. Special markings around its blue eyes make it look like it is wearing makeup.
I’ve traveled to a place called Cape St. Mary’s to see these fancy birds. You must travel on long dirt roads. Then you hike down a long, steep trail toward the ocean. At the end of the trail, there’s a cliff with a steep drop. On the other side are thousands of gannets nesting in the open. It’s spectacular!
Moose often munch on native plants.
Newfoundland also has its share of moose. They didn’t come from here, however. People brought these animals to the island more than a hundred years ago.
Moose quickly adapted to this environment. They graze on grasses and other plants. Their big appetite is a problem. As they eat native plants, they change the plant ecosystem. It’s something we need to pay attention to.
The Full Picture
Why is it important for a marine biologist to pay attention to land and sky creatures? I’ve learned that all of the living things in an ecosystem rely on each other. The birds in the sky need the fish in the ocean to survive. Land animals need plants and other animals to eat.
As a scientist, it’s important for me to observe all aspects of an ecosystem. Take a look around you. Think about our world. Then we can start to see how everything fits together.
Newfoundland’s sea, sky, and land are filled with life!