The fåhang or black noddies (Anous minutus) have made their annual appearance in Guam and can be found in Malesso and the offshore Islan Dåno’ (Cocos Island).
These migratory seabirds are considered native to Guam, usually arriving March through May to begin making nests and raising their chicks.
The name noddy is derived from the courtship dance of nodding heads toward their partner, which can be easily observed, as fåhang are highly tolerant of human activity.
In recent years, a number of these colony nesters have started building nests in trees on the Malesso side of the lagoon rather than on Dåno’, much to the disappointment of some people living near the trees where they nest.
Seabird droppings have a pungent smell, but islands that have nesting seabirds have healthier reefs due to the nutrients provided by their droppings.
Even after typhoon Mawar hit Guam on May 24th, the black noddies got right back to business rebuilding nests and laying eggs.
In mid July, avian ecologist Martin Kastner counted 601 nests in the trees around the Malesso bell tower, which is close to his total of 603 nests the previous year.
The number of nests, multiplied by 2 parents comes to at least 1,202 adult birds possibly on this site. A phenomenon not to be missed!
Take the scenic drive to southern Guam around sunset and stop and be amazed by this colony of gregarious seabirds as they return to their nests for the evening.
Guam has very few native birds due to predation by the invasive brown treesnakes. It is refreshing to find a place where birds are thriving.
Olympia Terral is a Science Writer for the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability, a bird and bee enthusiast who dedicates her free time towards the preservation of native species and removal of the invasive brown tree snake.