Miracle. All of it.

The frigatebird is dark and stealthy, with a hooked beak and a deeply forked tail. It belongs to the family of seabirds found in tropical and subtropical oceans. Their wings can span up to eight feet. They cannot dive beneath water or even rest on its surface since their feathers will absorb moisture and they will drown. They are known to swoop beneath cumulus clouds where the rising currents of warm air pull them into the heart of the vapor. In the currents they simply open their wings as if in the tube of a sky vacuum, a thunderous swirl of air. As they ascend they sometimes sleep. They are hauled upwards, thousands of feet, like hollow-boned gods through the narrowing gyre. High in the air they finally break from the current and flap out of the envelope of cloud. For a moment the buffer shakes them, but then the turbulence ends. In the still air they can glide horizontally downwards for up to forty miles without even flapping, finishing often with an annihilating drop. While still in flight, they stay alive by robbing other seabirds for food, or skimming the ocean surface for fish and squid, snatching their prey from the water with their long razor-sharp bills.

A frigatebird can stay aloft for two whole months without touching down on either land or water…

~ Colum McCann, Apeirogon: A Novel (Random House, February 25, 2020)


Photo: Sian Ka’an


  1. OMG – God’s creation is wonderful and perfect. I felt sorry for the poor bird, reading that he’d drown if wet. Then I felt immensely grateful for that ‘product of perfection and tremendous beauty’…. A brilliant start to this Tuesday (already nearly half time for lunch here but never mind!). Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Now, that’s real incredible!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This passage made my heart soar. “…like hollow-boned gods through the narrowing gyre.” Wow! Amazing, too, that these birds can stay aloft for two months. Our world is full of wonders….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. adapting and thriving wherever life takes them

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wondrous!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Awesome nature … ‘A frigatebird can stay aloft for two whole months without touching down on either land or water …
    Colum McCann, Apeirogon: A Novel (Random House, February 25, 2020).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Relax... says:

    This is both a case for bird-envy AND for bird-pity.. Not sure which/if one wins, but the name always cracks me up — and kindly toggled ocean thoughts bring smells and sounds and home. TY. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As we say our formal good-byes to my mother today, I shall hold the frigate bird’s ability to soar “…like hollow-boned gods through the narrowing gyre.” in my mind as I imagine my mother soaring through eternity.

    Thank you for that beautiful image this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “Come she come say
    Ride on the night
    Sun becomes day
    Day shall provide”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. One of my favorite birds on earth. Their incredible flight is highlighted well here. The male in breeding gets a giant red balloon-like pouch under his chin, he beats on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Amazing post

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Here they are called Ahi birds. Because … ahi. Are running. Go fish!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. what an amazing bird; I’ve never heard of them before.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Nature supplies us with so many wondrous things!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: