If that's not enough, they're also closely related to boobies.
October 20, 2008 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Gannets like sardines. Gannets like sardines so much that they will fly high in the air and then dive at speeds of up to 100 km/hr, up to 22 meters below the water, to catch them. (Youtube videos have commentary and occasional music.)
posted by voltairemodern (19 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I don't like them. They wet their nests.
posted by darksasami at 11:21 AM on October 20, 2008

I love sardines, too, and wonder why they don't sell them (fresh) more often
posted by KokuRyu at 11:25 AM on October 20, 2008

From Wikipedia: "Gannets are seabirds in the family Sulidae, closely related to the boobies."

Um. Yes, and they're quite handsome birds.
posted by dammitjim at 11:27 AM on October 20, 2008

darksasami, exact same thing popped into my head upon seeing this post. Now I'm going to walk around all day talking in a funny accent to myself and wondering why I don't just go to W.H. Smith's.
posted by barnacles at 11:30 AM on October 20, 2008

Needs a booby tag.

In related news, Gannett's stock continues to fall.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:30 AM on October 20, 2008

I'm not going to be wearing my sardine hat anymore, that's for sure.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:12 PM on October 20, 2008

>eat sardines
I'm sorry, it isn't that simple.
>open sardines
I'm sorry, that's not the best way to do this.
>go pantry
You go to the pantry.
You find a box of AkMak crackers and a tin of lightly smoked sardines.
>take crackers
You take the box of crackers.
>take sardines
You take the crackers.
>go tub
You go to the bathtub.
You see a bathtub, with soap, a plug, a sponge and a dirty ring.

>fill tub
You plug the bathtub, turn the cold tap and fill the bathtub with water.
>go freezer
You go to the freezer.
>open freezer
You open the freezer.
>take ice cube tray
I'm sorry, tray with the what now?
You see frozen foods, a bag of weed, and a bin of ice cubes.
>take bin of ice cubes.
You take the bin of ice cubes.
>empty bin of ice cubes in tub
You drop all the ice cubes into the bathtub.
>Drop tin of sardines into tub.
You drop the tin of sardines into the bathtub.
>Jump up in the air.
You hop a couple inches off the ground.
>jump into tub
You are flailing around in the freezing water, splashing everywhere.
>get sardines
Your clothes are sopping wet with ice water and you are holding a tin of sardines between your teeth.
>eat sardines
You open the sardines, place each on a crispy cracker with your shriveled and numb fingers, and shiver as you enjoy your protein-rich, fatty, scrumptious kill.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:36 PM on October 20, 2008 [8 favorites]

I've always found the hunting strategy of dropping out of the sky at a high rate of speed to catch something underwater to be really strange. It is clearly effective, but the idea of literally plunging one's self into an environment not best suited to your system of continued propulsion is a weird one to me.

That said, pelicans use a similar trick, and I just love watching those ungainly bastards drop out of the sky like feathered bowling balls.
posted by quin at 12:40 PM on October 20, 2008

I would think that being in a boat with birds coming down everywhere at 100mph would be a rather frightening experience.
posted by jpdoane at 12:55 PM on October 20, 2008

It is clearly effective, but the idea of literally plunging one's self into an environment not best suited to your system of continued propulsion is a weird one to me.

*Gets in car. Drives to supermarket to buy can of sardines*
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:05 PM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

> *Gets in car. Drives to supermarket to buy can of sardines*

Shouldn't that be "drives THROUGH supermarket" ?
posted by mrzarquon at 1:17 PM on October 20, 2008

I found it fascinating how it seemed the shark and the gannett were cooperating. Between the two species, the sardines kept spinning in a ball of chaos. They never moved sideways to escape either predator.
posted by Librarygeek at 1:20 PM on October 20, 2008

*Gets in car. Drives to supermarket to buy can of sardines*
Shouldn't that be "drives THROUGH supermarket" ?

Much like your car, gannets have air bags to cushion the impact:
It's streamlined body has a system of air cells between the skin of its neck and shoulders and the muscle beneath. As the gannet prepares to dive, its air cells are inflated to cushion its body when it strikes the water. From Hinterland's Who's Who.

Obligatory Hinterland's Who's Who vintage PSA: The North Atlantic Gannet.
That's your CanCon for today.
posted by Kabanos at 1:26 PM on October 20, 2008

Assistant: The expurgated version of 'Olsen's Standard Book of British Birds'?

Customer: Yes. The one without the gannet.

Assistant: The one without the gannet?! They've all got the gannet it's a standard bird,
the gannet, it's in all the books.

Customer: Well I don't like them. They've got long nasty beaks! And they wet their nests.

Assistant: But ... but you can't expect them to produce a special edition for gannet-haters!

Customer: I'm sorry, I specially want the one without the gannet.
posted by podwarrior at 1:27 PM on October 20, 2008

wow. Surprised this post didn't get tons of favorites. I've never seen anything like this.

Funny, then being closely related to boobies, haha. And those critters are cool too with their bright blue feet.

It's amazing to watch the gannets in action along with the dolphins, the sharks and seals, all working that baitball of sardines, which moves in the mind boggling way that the starlings over Ot Moor do. How do fish and birds do that mass movement thing? Dolphins swim like that, in synch. Is there a non-verbal communication happening? Or is it sound based? Telepathic? Is it a visual cue? Anybody know about this in synch movement thing, the mechanics of how it happens?

Love when the shark smacks into the photographer. yikes.

Incredible that the gannets swim underwater briefly, chasing the sardines. They really dive bomb the water. Must be scary to dive near them when they're on a feeding frenzy like that. I'd be afraid of being pierced by their sharp beaks, instant trepanation.

In the second vid it's incredible to see an entire flock of birds emerging out of the sea, like some weird dream or something. If I hadn't seen that with my own eyes I wouldn't have believed it. Dang a rain of missile-like birds, so intense! It's surprising that gannets are used in metaphors more often. People use hawks and eagles as examples of superb vision and attack skills but it looks like gannets are really more amazing all around, they fly, glide, swim underwater, have thick skulls that act like crash helmets, float like ducks, dive bomb tiny fish up to 22 meters underwater with binocular vision, eat underwater and they're elegant looking too.

Anyway, all to say I loved your post.
posted by nickyskye at 1:27 PM on October 20, 2008

What will I do for a fresh sardine?

Fly for 10 hours at 565 mph up to 36000 ft, diving down at 160 mph to sea level. But here's where I differ from the gannet: instead of diving below the water to get my sardine or catching it myself, I just go to a tapas bar and order these.

Those gannets look pretty sensible now, huh?
posted by grounded at 1:31 PM on October 20, 2008

Gannets are also very romantic. They say "I love you" by beak-slapping the hell out of each other .
posted by Kabanos at 1:31 PM on October 20, 2008

Ahahaha the Monty Python quotes are hilarious because I once heard that sketch and it mentions gannets and so quoting it is totally side-splitting!
posted by Legomancer at 1:48 PM on October 20, 2008

Actually, I was more trying to get it out of the way. Doesn't seem to have worked so well, though.
posted by darksasami at 2:59 PM on October 20, 2008

« Older A View from Iran   |   International Music Score Library Project has... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments