Photography of Birds – Set # 264
Set # 264
In 1872, James E. Palmer of Stonington, Connecticut, loaded fifteen white ducks of this type for shipment to a businessman named McGrath in the United States. The birds were loaded at Shanghai but had been hatched in Peking (now called Beijing). Nine of them – six hens and three drakes – survived the voyage, which took 124 days and reached New York City on 13 March 1873 Five of the surviving birds were dispatched to McGrath but were eaten before they reached him. Palmer’s four birds became the foundation stock of the American Pekin; by July 1873, his three hens had laid more than three hundred eggs.
The black skimmer breeds in loose groups on sandbanks and sandy beaches in the Americas, the three to seven heavily dark-blotched buff or bluish eggs being incubated by both the male and female. The chicks leave the nest as soon as they hatch and lie inconspicuously in the nest depression or “scrape” where they are shaded from high temperatures by the parents. They may dig their own depressions in the sand at times. Parents feed the young almost exclusively during the day with almost no feeding occurring at night, due to the entire population of adults sometimes departing the colony to forage. Although the mandibles are of equal length at hatching, they rapidly become unequal during fledging.
© HJ Ruiz – Avian101