Pigeon Guillemot: Photo Essay

In my last blog post, I had promised to follow up with a look at the Stanley Park Ecology Society. Circumstances have led me to change my plans. Fear not! I will talk about SPES and birding and bird conservation next month (if all goes well).

I will present instead a photo essay on a local resident colony of Pigeon Guillemot (French: Guillemot colombin | Latin: Cepphus columba | Order: Charadriiformes | Family: Alcidae). These interesting relatives of the penguin may be found in the immediate vicinity of Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. If you follow my blog, you may already have seen several pictures of these vaguely pigeon-like birds of the sea, here and here.

These pictures were all taken yesterday (April 16, 2013) from Burrard Dry Dock Pier. I was really quite lucky to have great lighting conditions and several individuals willing to ham it up for my camera. As a result, you can see very clearly in most cases the black wedges in the white “window” on their wings, not to mention the bright red feet and mouths.

As was the case for the post mentioned above, I was also able to capture an interesting phenomena: two individual birds would meet up, starting to circling each other and “chat” to each other in the rather distinctive and very piercing call of the PIGU, a “discussion” that would continue for several minutes. The first time I witnessed this, I thought it might be some sort of mating ritual, but I am not so sure anymore, since it seems unlikely that this sort of thing would last for several weeks or months. But perhaps it does… please leave me a comment if you know the answer (or even if you don’t).

PIGU_01-LOQU-NVBC-2013-04-16 PIGU_02-LOQU-NVBC-2013-04-16 PIGU_03-LOQU-NVBC-2013-04-16 PIGU_04-LOQU-NVBC-2013-04-16 PIGU_05-LOQU-NVBC-2013-04-16 PIGU_06-LOQU-NVBC-2013-04-16 PIGU_07-LOQU-NVBC-2013-04-16 PIGU_08-LOQU-NVBC-2013-04-16

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6 Responses to Pigeon Guillemot: Photo Essay

  1. Thanks for letting me know the name of pier! I will update my postings accordingly. And I also spotted the Western Grebe when I took those photos, but it was much too far for my feeble lens to capture a good image. Maybe next time!

  2. Robert Alexander says:

    Pigeon Guillemot are quite endearing with an entertaining personality, I live in North Vancouver and visit the Burrard Dry Dock Pier often to view the Pigeon Guillemot and also Western Grebe.


  3. They are indeed beautiful birds, Pat. And PIGU’s are relatively common on the coastal waters of Metro Vancouver, so if you did come here, you would almost certainly get your lifer!

  4. Thank you! The feet are indeed striking.

  5. Pat Bumstead says:

    I always have loved red shoes… These beautiful birds would be a lifer for me – I may have to plan a trip your way!

  6. Susan Ellis says:

    Beautiful shots! Love their brilliant red feet!

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