Get Ready With Me (A Streaked Shearwater)
9:00 AM EST on January 17, 2024
Hi guys! It's me, the streaked shearwater, or Calonectris leucomelas. In case it's your first time on my channel, here are some things you should know about me. I'm a seabird (duh!). My wing feathers are brown, my belly feathers are white, and my head is kind of a mixture between the two. I have a four-foot wingspan and I'm about the size of a housecat, a creature that happens to be my sworn mortal enemy for brutally beheading untold numbers of my kind—rest in peace Aunt Lisa!
Lol sorry for getting so dark! Back to me. Today I wanted to show you guys how I get ready for an average day flying over the rollicking waves of the western Pacific Ocean. I technically live in nest in a colony on Awashima Island, Japan, but I'm not showing you my nest because I don't want to be doxxed.
Before I take off for the day, I never leave my nest without my AI-enabled bio-logger. This thing has everything: a video camera, a three-axis acceleration sensor, a GPS unit, a water pressure sensor, a thermometer, a magnetometer and even a freaking illuminometer. Can you believe it? I basically got it for free like a year ago, when some human grabbed me in my nest at night and stuck the bio-logger on my back using waterproof tape. That might sound kind of traumatic, and it definitely took me by surprise, but now I have this cool camera that logs all the footage I needed for my GRWM (for any boomers in the room, that means Get Ready With Me). It weighs about as much as a AA battery, which is about five percent of my body mass.
The researchers taped bio-loggers to me and 17 other streaked shearwater influencers to better understand rare behaviors that might help them learn more about the biology and ecology of our species, according to a paper they published in the journal PNAS Nexus. (Nosy!) Video loggers this light can only record a few hours of video before running out of battery, so these researchers created a program that can detect and record rare behaviors without oversight from any people. So the logger would start recording if we dive into the sea or shake our heads vigorously, which we often do before we fly, to ensure it's not just filming two hours of me floating on the ocean waves (but if you'd be interested in a vid like that, sound off in the comments!).
OK back to the interesting stuff, by which I mean my day! I always like to start my morning by floating on top of the surface of the ocean in search of fish and squid. It's a sunny day on the Pacific Ocean, so I'm floating with a bunch of other streaked shearwaters, who have the same idea as me but clearly do not have AI-enabled bio-loggers, because they keep getting in my shot! Before I dive, I want to confirm that a school of fish is actually underwater by dipping my head under the waves a few times.
There's nothing better for a supple beak than a briny splash of seawater! You might not be able to see any fish or squid in this video footage, but let me assure you that I can. They're there. The fish are there in a beautiful bait ball, and I just need to figure out when to strike. Then the fish will be mine, all mine!
After about five quick head dips underwater, I'm ready to take the plunge. Again, this is why it's important to have waterproof tape for your AI-enabled bio-logger if you're going to wear one, because it's about to get super wet! Once I'm underwater, I head straight to the silver school of fish like it's a disco ball and I'm an extra in the Barbie movie. Then I head back up to the surface, where all my peers' bobbing bottoms are there to welcome me back.
Another one of my favorite tricks that I want to show to you today is what I like to call my plunge dive, where I plummet into the waves from high in the sky. I obviously can't dip my head underwater before this dive because I'm in the sky, but I generally do this dive when the schools of fish are closer to the surface and easier to spot. In this plunge dive, you can see I'm basically about to swim through the silver bait ball, not to mention all those larger fish who have also come to feast upon the bait ball. I know there's an old Sicilian saying that if you are swimming with the fishes it means you are dead. But in my case swimming with the fishes means that the fishes are about to be dead. And I am about to be fed! Ha! It goes without mentioning that none of these fishes have an AI-enabled bio-logger, let alone have heard of one. Boomers!
Once I'm back at the surface, I like to practice some self-care by preening. It's honestly essential if you're at all interested in maintaining feather integrity throughout the year. When I was a hatchling, I didn't know anything about feather integrity. But now I think about it all the time. You may know that preening helps keep the hooks and barbs of my feathers intact and flexible so they don't break, which in turn helps keep me waterproof. But perhaps more importantly, preening makes me look good. Look at me! Why else would the scientists have chosen me as one of the elite 18 shearwaters to receive an AI-enabled bio-logger? I've been ready to be a content creator basically since the day I hatched.
Well, that's it for getting ready with me! What am I getting ready for in particular, you might ask? It's a good question. I don't have a job. My days are governed by the winds and the waves. My yearnings are my schedule. But I suppose we are all constantly getting ready for the great unknown that is the future, the gauzy horizon into which we all boldly march, fly, and swim. Like and subscribe and stay tuned for next week, when I'll show you how I get ready to hunt squid!