Friendly Birds

Commercial fishing can be a lonely life, so it’s only natural that any friendly visit  would be welcomed. When my husband is away fishing near the Queen Charlotte Islands, now renamed Haida Gwaii,  he is often visited by pigeon guillemots, some of the friendliest birds on the coast. These two dropped in for a visit on the bow of the troller. They’re very curious birds and have to check out everything.


These little sea birds with bright red feet don’t seem to mind people at all. They roost on cross braces between pilings at the wharves, or on the bull rails of the floats, often engaging in noisy high-pitched bantering among themselves. Because they often nest on shore not too far from the beach, they are no strangers to fishboats that anchor close to shore.


Unlike crows or seagulls, they are not content to sit there doing nothing. They have to explore, run around the deck, flutter up onto the roof of the wheelhouse to run around scritchety-scratching with their feet, and hop down again to see what’s new on the skylight for the fo’c’sle and every other part of the boat before flying away again.


Having checked out the bow, they are back again to inspect the stern of the boat. The shiny gear kept there catches their interest.

Picture 192

What’s behind this bucket?

Picture 194

And oh, look! There’s a whole little room down there where the captain stands when he fishes. Must check this out.

Picture 193

Come on, Georgie. Time to go. Jump back into the water.

Picture 188

You go first. I’ll be right behind you.

Picture 187

And so they take off to swim with their heads under so the water just barely covers their eyes. They’ll feed on tiny sea animals and in a while maybe they’ll need another rest on the fishboat. The fisherman will be happy to have them come back to entertain him on those long lonely days.

PS Don’t forget to check out my sister blog, Anneli’s Place.  I’m sure the pigeon guillemots will check it out.

40 thoughts on “Friendly Birds

  1. Pingback: 4:26 am. And Inspired. – Lead.Learn.Live.

    • They are a Pacific Coast bird, ranging from California to Alaska, but you mostly see them in the north. They fly farther south when the north freezes up. But yes, they are sweet birds, so cute to watch.


  2. Oh, how I love the way you tell a story! I admire your gift. The photos along with your story line had me enjoying these two birds as much as the fisherman.



  3. Love the pictures, the story everything!! We are excited! If all goes as planned, we will be the proud new owners of an older Lobster boat! ….( btw…dreamed last night that you were named Author of the Year)


  4. Really like you Blog- just found it! Those birds are a cross between gulls and pigeons- I wonder what they are called- great photos!


    • These birds belong more to the auk family, but I think that their behaviour (and to some extent their looks) is similar to pigeons, hence the name. They’re very friendly though, like pigeons.


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