kittiwake defined in 1930 yearkittiwake - Kittiwake;
kittiwake - Bill greenish yellow; legs and feet black; mantle deep grey head, neck, tail, and under parts white. Length, fifteen and a half inches.
The kittiwake takes its pretty name from its usual cry, composed of three notes, two quick and short, and one long. It is the smallest of the British gulls, excluding the stragglers, and is also one of the handsomest and most interesting in its habits. It is more of a sea- bird than most gulls, feeding principally on small fish, which it captures after the manner of a tern, hovering motionless for a few moments, then dashing down on to the water with great force. It is common round the British Islands throughout the year, but probably most of the birds that breed on our coasts migrate to more southern regions in winter, their places, meanwhile, being taken by visitors from the north. Its breeding-sites, often shared with the guillemot and razorbill, are precipitous rocky cliffs fronting the sea, the nest being placed on the ledges and wherever a projecting rock affords standing-room for a bird of its size. When the colony is a numerous one the birds may be seen whitening the face of the precipice from within a few feet above high-water mark to within a few feet of the top. The nests, often placed so near together as to be almost touching, are rather bulky, built of seaweed mixed with turf, and lined with dry grass. Two or three, sometimes four, eggs are laid, varying in ground-colour from greenish blue to olive-brown, or buff, or huffish brown, spotted and blotched with reddish brown, and under-markings of pale brown and grey.
Where suitable sites exist, and the birds are not too much molested, the kittiwakes have breeding colonies on the British coasts from the Scilly Islands and the Cornish and Devon cliffs right away to St. Kilda in the north. The kittiwakes breed later than most gulls, unfortunately for them. It has been pointed out again and again that the young birds are often hardly able to feed themselves, and in many cases are not yet out of their nests, at the end of July, which is also the end of the close time for sea-birds. It then becomes lawful for the scoundrels who practise this form of sport to slaughter the kittiwakes - both the helpless young and the parent birds that are engaged in feeding and protecting them.
near kittiwake in Knolik
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