Tag Archives: Humble Island

Big and Bad, or Just Misunderstood? Meet the Southern Giant-Petrel

We spend a lot of time looking at penguins down here, but they’re not the only birds around. An almost constant presence overhead is the aptly named southern giant-petrel—the biggest flying bird in Antarctica. Southern giant-petrels have six-foot wingspans and tremendous bills that look like a cross between a bottle opener and a piece of body armor.

Over the years they have developed a fearsome reputation as fierce, stinky, bloodstained, irritable scavengers. But one researcher—Donna Fraser, a member of the CONVERGE project’s birding team—has spent the last 20 years re-evaluating this myth, inventing a new, gentler way of approaching the birds, and discovering valuable information about them into the bargain. Click through the slideshow for a closer look at the lives and habits of this misunderstood seabird:

An Integral Part of the SceneryThe “Albatross” That Nobody LovedCareful, Cautious, and CompassionateA Sensitive SideWe Call Them WooshiesYour Chick Is Making Great Progress, Ms. Giant-PetrelThe Better to Scratch Your Little Head WithLike an Oceanic VultureMaster of the Wind
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