Northern Gannet, 3yr old captured by Z 8 / Z400f4.5 w/Z1.4x

Like species such as the Bald Eagle, Northern Gannets don’t have their adult plumage until year four and later. They pair for life and start nesting after age four. Their plumage is variable until then (see below). Avian flu went through the Cape Mary Bird Ecological Reserve in 2022 like wildfire killing 20-40% of the 40,000 Gannets. “The Beach was covered with carcasses” the biologist told me. With the mortality rate, this year a number of “younger” birds paired up and were stepping up with the older birds now missing would have been breeder. How this will turn out only time will tell.

Above is the one individual I really loved to photograph, who I called “Piano Keys” because of the pattern on its wings. It’s a three to four year old. Almost is pure white. Below you will see the various age classes with two year old on far left, three year old, 3-4 year old and 4-20 year old on far right. Once they leave the nest, they “crash” land into the ocean where their flight instruction begins. They survival after that is pretty certain, unless of natural disaster strikes. But like all, experience counts for a lot of that longevity, you could simply say, better with age.


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