Morning wake up call starts usually with the pitter patter of Sheathbill's walking on the tin roofs that cover our buildings. We've nicknamed them the Antarctic Chicken.
The Sheathbill is friendly, curious and not modest at all. He has a pink knarly face with hints of green on his bill and and small beady eyes that actually project a sense of curiosity and not deceit.
His feathers are all white save for bits of poo that sometime cover parts of his torso. He can be so angel-like in the surrounding snow.
When he's around, he's usually with at least one more if not a threesome. They'll stand overhead on the eaves looking down at you as you walk and they probably have a name for us too and watch us with as much interest as we do them. I can see us named after the Emperor penguin, as our (human) gait sometimes look like old men in overcoats when we are bundled to go out into the elements with our oversized jackets and raingear and cameras.
The Sheathbill can be seen at Palmer for most of the year, but more so in the warmer months. It is the only Antarctic breeding bird that doesn't have webbed feet. He eats whatever it can find. Poo of any critter even human, seaweed and fish if it can find it washed up on shore. It is seen frequently around our waste water outfall.
We so enjoy their presence, but have never seen a chick, at least not yet.