Giant Petrel Parents and Chicks on Nests
 - Macronectes giganteus

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This is a Giant Petrel, commonly known as a Geep, GP or to the old sealers as Stinkers. The latter name came from their habit, quite common amongst sea-birds, of vomiting on any one or thing that approaches them and seems to impose a threat.

They build the traditional Antarctic nest of small stones, but always seem to manage quite an impressive pile of them in comparison to penguins for example. They spend much of their time scavenging and are always to be found where there is a dead seal or whale carcass. Sometimes eating so much that after a couple of aborted attempts at taking off due to excessive baggage, the only remaining option is to vomit in order to lighten the load. They are large birds the size of a turkey with a wing span of 2 metres or more.

Photo; © Paul Ward - Pictures taken on Signy Island, South Orkneys, Antarctica.