Friday, December 10, 2010

What do Toucans and Bats Have in Common?

Our friend and neighbor, Alan, here in Gallon Jug, sent over these great images of a Keel-billed Toucan in flight, and then perching in a "hurricane downed tree" tree. It's fun to see the classic "in flight" image of this bird. While this is a fairly common and readily seen species, it is a bit out of character for this toucan to be in the open farm areas of Gallon Jug Farm. It's mainly a frugivore (fruit eater) so I have to wonder whether it is still a bit disoriented from Hurricane Richard and seeking new food resources. Many trees, while still standing, were stripped of leaves and fruits, thanks to the high winds.

We're seeing something similar with certain bat species. What do toucans and bats have in common? Fruits comprise an important part of the diet of toucans and many bats. We've had two reports of fruit bats flying in daylight including a video of bats swarming around a fruiting tree. Could it be that food resources are so limited that they are risking daytime flight -- and exposure to predators -- in order to find fruit?

On my afternoon walk yesterday, there were two fruit bats in flight before the sun had even set. Since it'll be a while before the trees recover, I hope all the frugivorous species can hang on.

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