The oilbird (Steatornis caripensis), locally known as the guácharo, is a bird species found in the northern areas of South America including the island of Trinidad. It is the only species in the genus Steatornis and the family Steatornithidae. Nesting in colonies in caves, oilbirds are nocturnal feeders on the fruits of the oil palm and tropical laurels. They are the only nocturnal flying fruit-eating birds in the world. They forage at night, with specially adapted eyesight. However they navigate by echolocation in the same way as bats, and are one of the few kinds of birds known to do so.
Here he comes: the Vagabond, with his Vagabutt, and his fierce Vaga… Run.
I’m getting back into the groove of animating again. Like, damn, look at this. It’s smooth as huck. I’m super proud of it. Next is to get a feel for Geoff’s character and then maybe start storyboarding the Animated?? I dunno. First time’s the charm, as they always say.
imagine lucretia’s frequent checkups on the boys living their happy lives…was there a day when she suddenly lost track of them? when she went to visit raven’s roost and found out magnus’ new family had been killed and the perfect place she had brought him to was gone? when she went to the beach and found out merle’s family life had disintegrated and he had run away from the home she had brought him to? when she tried to find out where the next sizzle it up performance would be and learned taako had been framed for killing people because someone was jealous of him?
imagine lucretia finding out the Perfect Lives she had built for her family were too perfect to last. imagine her scrambling to track them down, thinking that they might be lost like lup and barry, thinking that she should’ve kept a better watch on them, she should’ve tried harder to keep them safe. just when she had a second voidfish, just when she had a way to bring them home, she lost them.
then imagine her finding them in the same town, in the same tavern. imagine her watching through the window as they spoke to each other for the first time. imagine her realizing that the second she had looked away, they had found each other again. she didn’t even need to try to bring them home. they were finding it themselves.
So I’ve been thinking about this a lot since the last ‘The TAZ Zone’ where Griffin was saying that he was so sure Magnus was going to take the chalice in 11th Hour and he had a whole thing planned for it.
I think Magnus would have taken it. If not taken it, I think he would’ve had a lot harder time deciding whether he wanted to go back and fix things with Julia and Raven’s Roost. Julia was the single most important thing in Magnus’ life (post Stolen Century) and I think he would’ve 100% taken the cup to at least try and make things right.
But I think the thing that stopped him was Lucas Miller. Magnus was very upset with Lucas for what he did in the Crystal Kingdom Arc and when he was questioning him towards the end Lucas said something along the lines of “Wouldn’t you do anything to save the one person who meant the most to you?” And I think Magnus saw the love that Lucas had for his mother and while different, the drive and passion behind what Lucas had done for Maureen probably rivaled what Magnus felt watching his last moments with Julia with June in the White Space. And I think if Magnus hadn’t seen the problems that came with someone who couldn’t let go of the past, who couldn’t accept that their loved one was gone, he would’ve taken the cup. But having witnessed the tragedy of Lucas and Maureen, he knew that while he’d always love and miss Julia, he had to let her stay in the past.
Status: Critically Endangered; there are 153 as of 2016
Names: Night parrot, owl parrot, tarapo, tarepo
(wild): 23 – 25 in, 58 – 64 cm
(wild): 2 – 9 lb, 0.95 – 4 kg
58 years, but have potential to live into their 90s. Their exact
lifespan is unknown. Researchers in the recovery program will know
when the kakapo hatched in the recovery effort die of old age, which
could be decades from now.
(Above: Historic range; Below: Current range)
Used to live from the far north of the North Island to the south of
the South Island. Now they are only found on offshore islands that
are protected areas without introduced predators. It is not believed
that there are any left on the main land of New Zealand, when the
recovery program began they were all captured from the Fiordland
National Park and brought to protected zones. They currently live on
Codfish Island (Whenua Hau), Little Barrier Island (Hauturu ao Toi),
and Anchor Island.
Formally from sea level to near tops of mountains. They are ground
dwellers who live in forest substrate and scrubland.
They are solitary, gathering only to breed
They do not breed every year, as they will only breed when there is
enough rimu fruit.
starts around December and lasts until April
They engage in
“lek” breeding, which is when the males compete for female
attention. They are the only parrot species and New Zealand bird
species to do this.
inflates like a balloon, and then emits a low boom which can be
heard from up to 5 km away. This lets any females in the area know
that he is ready to mate
After 20 -30
booms, the male emits a high-pitched ‘ching’, which pinpoints his
position, allowing females to find him
and chinging can last for 8 hours nonstop every night for 2-3 months
during breeding season
(Above: Booming Sketch)
female lays 1-4 eggs. They are similar in size to chicken eggs and
will hatch after 30 days. The female raises them by herself, and has
to leave the nest at night to search for food. After 10 weeks, the
fledglings leave the nest, but may still be fed by their mother for
up to 6 months.
The berries of the Rimu plant (see picture) are their favorite food.
They also eat parts of other native plants, including the fruits,
seeds, bark, bulbs, leaves, stems, mosses, ferns, fungi, and roots.
Species include pink pine, stinkwood, Hall’s totara, and mountain
flax. When food species that are important to their diet become
abundant, they feed exclusively on it.
are also fed pellets, freeze-dried and frozen fruit, walnuts, and
pine conelets by the recovery effort.
Dimorphic: Yes, the males are larger
(wild): The upper side of their body is green with random black,
brown, and yellow barring and mottling. Their underparts are a
yellow-green and have irregular yellow and brown barring. The face is
yellow-brown and the beak is grey and smaller in females. The primary
wing feathers are tipped with yellow in males and green and brown in
females. The tail is green and brown with yellow and black barring
They are nocturnal and solitary and roost on the ground or in trees
during the day. When disturbed, they freeze, trying to blend in with
Concerns: They are not equipped
to deal with human intrusion and introduced predators, which caused
their numbers to decline rapidly. By 1970, there were only 18 males
left in Fiordland. In 1977, a small population of both males and
females were found.
Recently there has been an increase in cases of “crusty butt”,
which is a viral infection that causes the cloaca to become inflamed,
and presents like severe dermatitis.
It is still unknown what is
causing the virus and if it is infectious. There has been one death
due to this infection, and treatment, a topical cream, seems to only
help some individuals.
As of now, it is only found on Codfish Island,
and has been since 2002.
It is being taken very seriously and is
being closely monitored, with research being done to learn more about
Captivity: Some young chicks are raised in captivity as part of a
Conservation attempt to save the species. Conservation and recovery
of this species has been going one since 1977, when a population of
both females and males were found on Stewart Island.
They are the largest parrot species in the world (by weight) and
possibly the oldest living bird!
Sirocco, a male
kakapo born March 23, 1997, was raised in captivity due to a illness
that required he be hand raised and quarantined from other kakapo. He
now thinks he’s human and is a conservation ambassador for the kakapo.
proved that kakapo can swim, after deciding to join one of the
rangers’ family who were swimming in the ocean. He jumped off the jetty and paddled around for a bit before going back to shore, completely nonchalant.
He is also the kakapo who made
his species famous after “shagging” Mark Cawardine on the BBC
series “Last Chance to See”.
Bendy wasn’t always the proprietor of the Devil’s Roost. It was a long hard road to get there.
He has a few employees there, of which I haven’t shown yet. This woman, who I’ve decided now is called Betsy, is his favourite because she’s the only one that pets him.
There were a few incidents with Bendy in his more monstrous form, which resulted in horrible rampages. A lot of toons got hurt, but eventually they managed to wrangle him in. It started a chain of events which led him to open Devil’s Roost. That seems so long ago now.
I discussed this in a lot more detail in my article on the pekapeka (a bat from New Zealand that spends about half its time on the ground), but in general, here are the reasons:
1. Compared to other flighted animal groups like birds and insects, bats are relatively new on the scene evolutionarily. They evolved flight about 52 million years ago. Compare that to birds, which have had about 150 million years to get comfortable with flying- only a few have ever lost it in that time.
2. Flying is a powerful antipredator defense and allows bats to get at resources they wouldn’t normally get, like flying insects and high-hanging flowers and fruit. This means there is currently strong evolutionary pressure for bats to retain flight in most parts of the world. One example where there was not was New Zealand (until recently). Even then, the pekapeka and its relatives retained the ability to fly.
3. Compared to birds, bats may simply be too specialized for flight to go back to being completely terrestrial. All living bats have modified hindlimbs and pelvises for flight, because their legs actually make up part of their wings.
It may be difficult to tell from that picture, but a bat’s hind legs are rotated at 90-180 degrees (depending on the species) around from where an ordinary mammal’s would be. In other words, their knees point backwards.
(This is different from a pterosaur, by the way- pterosaurs had wing membranes that attached to their hind limbs as well, but retained forward-pointing knees.)
This makes walking on the ground very difficult for them, and is related to why they roost upside-down. (In fact, some species of bats CAN’T walk on the ground at all!) Even when bats have regained the ability to be good walkers, like the vampire bat has, the style of locomotion is very different from all other living animals, like so:
It’s not a BAD way to get around, but energetically, it’s not as efficient as regular quadrupedal walking.
So, for a bat to “de-specialize” from flight completely might require extreme evolutionary pressures that don’t exist on earth right now. Not that I don’t think they could do it- but a flightless bat would end up looking really, really weird, compared to the mammals we’re used to.