Birds – they remind us humans often of the dream of flying and of boundless freedom. Therefore, they have always fascinated us with their characteristics and abilities. Their eyesight is phenomenal. Their plumage is often extremely colorful and diverse. In an inimitable way they dominate the air space like no other animal and are perfectly adapted to their habitats. Africa, with its humid savannahs is also a big bird paradise for us, which are to be explored. For travelers it is not always easy. It can happen that the lunch box does not reach its destination, the human stomach. In Tanzania, only a few centimeters before the dreamed of first bite reaches its destination, one of the raptors headed unerringly for the treat, hits his claws into it and flew away with its prey. We assume that this is a repeat offender, which then visits the picnic area on a regular basis to steal tourists to their lunch. However, when the claws of the bird not only catch the sandwich, it can lead to painful experiences of a special kind. A claw is damn big and sharp as a razor.

IMG_8927a - Kopie  IMG_8937 - Kopie

Also interesting is the skill of many birds building a nest and what frustration tolerance they have to spend on this part. It is especially hard for the males in some species of the weaver birds. Artfully they make a ball-like nest for their chosen one.

When it is completed, the female comes by for a visit. When disliking her home, she makes it known by not moving in. The male will start immediately with the construction of a new nest. He does this until a nest appeals the chosen one. There a different types of design in housing construction: the freestanding house, the semi-detached house and the high-rise estate.

During such observations, we are glad that we are able to settle things differently.

As fascinating as many birds are, either because of their blaze of color or their artistic flying skills, of the worldwide 11,000 known species, two fascinate us in peculiar: penguins and puffins. The latter does not make a good impression on either ground or in the air. Their waddle reminds us of the parrot’s movement. Their hectic flapping looks rather clumsy.

Maybe that is the reason why they have all our sympathies.

The black and white birds wearing a tailcoat mastered the waddling perfectly. The penguin’s clumsy walk and chubby figure creates fast excitement among us. Their donkey-like singing does not create storms of enthusiasm. Their cries can be heard over a long distance. Endurance while singing is crucial for the choice of a partner and therefore can last hours. Chubby males are preferred by the ladies. Often you can hear partners shouting a duet when they greet each other after a long work day in front of the breeding burrow.

The social interaction with partners is very affectionate. Cuddling is also part of the every day life in a penguin marriage such as mutual plumage care is.

Conflict is more common amongst male penguins and between young and old. Sometimes two fight and the confrontation is always at the cost of one of the brawlers. The stronger one will not leave the loser alone. He chases the weaker one across the colony and kicks and pinches his opponent painfully. In such situation one of the bystanders interferes and mediates violently. The small fellows don’t act prissily with each other outside of their marriage. But even this behavior does not lessen our great sympathy for the feathered community wearing a tailcoat.

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