In December 2010, while studying abroad with Seattle Pacific University, ecology major Caleb Richmond '11 made the acquaintance of this blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii), a seabird indigenous to the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
"As with almost all of the animals in the Galapagos, the boobies are easy to photograph. They have no fear of humans and will walk right up to you out of curiosity," says Richmond. For their clumsiness on land, the birds were named "booby," a derivation of the Spanish term "bobo" or "fool." Belying their stumblebum ways are those gorgeous feet. Ranging in coloration from pale turquoise to deep aquamarine, booby feet are the focus of the bird's courtship dance. Males attempt to impress females by spreading their wings, throwing their heads skyward, and stamping those webbed sensations on the ground.
Richmond and his classmates earned five credits each for exploring a world that few have ever seen.
Find out more about the SPU Galapagos Islands study abroad program.