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#243 Christmas Frigatebird

Critically Endangered

Around the World in 80 Days - Day 35

While Christmas Island is an Australian Territory, it is still up in the general area we've been sailing with Phileas Fogg lately. These birds are considered aerial pirates. They harass other sea birds while in the air until in desperation to get away, the bullied bird regurgitates the fish they've just caught. The frigatebird then steals it, not having to do any hunting then. They do their own hunting, stealing fish from fishermen, skimming the water to catch jellyfish and other food. They are incredibly agile, and can fly 31mph which means they are able to catch one of their favourite foods, which is flying fish. Unlike many seabirds, they do not swim or even land on the water. They do not have waterproof feathers, and their wings are especially long in comparison to their body size. Those long wings make it hard for them to even take off on flat ground, never-mind the water. They have few nesting sites, all on Christmas Island. Their biggest threats are phosphate mining, habitat loss, and becoming a by-catch for fishermen. They also have a low number of offspring. The female lays a single egg every 2 years, and it can take up to 15 months to fully raise the chick.

If you believe in spirit animals, frigatebirds would certainly not be mine. The only time I ever purposefully stole something was when I was about 3. I saw a plastic ring in a store in a bin at convenient 3 year old me level. I took it home, showed my mom because I thought it was pretty, and she marched me back to the store where I had to return it. I recently went back to Costco because I realized that they had not charged me for some paper towels I'd bought. The woman helping me was sure Costco would be fine with it, and just appreciate I brought it to their attention. She wasn't even positive about how to handle me so she asked her manager. The manager was more than happy to figure out a way of making me pay for the towels which obviously disappointed the woman helping me. I was fine either way, I would not have brought it to their attention if I wasn't prepared to pay for the towels. I also was never a bully, in fact I was bullied from Kindergarten until I got to university. Not all of the bullies were fellow classmates, sometimes it was a teacher. I was a quiet, shy kid who wouldn't stand up for myself. People who have met me late in life often find that rather a surprise. While I think frigatebirds are fascinating and cool looking, I don't relate to them well at all.

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