WATCH: ‘Super Rare’ Seabird Lands on Whale-Watching Boat As If It’s Another Passenger

by Joe Rutland

If you were out watching whales and a rare seabird came along to land on your boat, then you might think it was strange. So, this red-footed booby decided to make his home on the rail of a whale-watching boat. Katlyn Taylor, who is a naturalist for Blue Ocean Whale Watch, wrote on Facebook, “A juvenile red-footed booby landed on the boat today. So we took it whale watching.”

The boat was in California’s Monterey Bay. Now, what did the passengers do? They gave the red-footed booby some space. These people also probably were in awe of having him pop up on their boat. We can see in the video that the seabird was preening a bit. It didn’t look like he was bothered by other people there at all. Also, you can probably see humpback whales lunge-feed just beyond the ship’s bow.

Seabird Leaves Passengers on Boat In Awe

Passengers appeared to possibly be more in awe of their feathered friend. It’s an unusual sight while whales are pretty common in Monterey Bay. Where do red-footed boobies come from after all? They usually can be found nesting on tropical islands and even atolls. An Instagram video from Capt. Kate Cummings also shows the red-footed booby alive and well on the boat. This all happened on Tuesday and Cummings talked bout it with USA Today’s FTW Outdoors. Cummings said that the only other red-footed booby that she’s come across in Monterey Bay was back in 2018.

“It hitched a ride into Moss Landing Harbor on a fishing boat and died a few days later,” Cummings said. “But the booby we had [Tuesday] seemed healthy and active, as it was seen plunge-diving for anchovies, successfully, and was preening on our boat.” Why are these birds called red-footed boobies? If you notice their feet, then they have a coloration on them. These birds also will prey on fish and squid. They also hunt by flying quite slowly above the surface.

Now, we also get a little more info about this seabird from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In fact, they are known to actually rest on ships while hunting in the open water. The lab website indicates, “Individuals may ride on a ship, or fly alongside it, and when flying fish take to the air in front of the vessel, the booby flies swiftly toward it, catching it in the bill. Red-footed boobies also congregate around actively feeding fish such as tuna, which drive small fish toward the surface.” Well, on this day, the seabird probably benefitted from having whales disperse a lot of anchovies.