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Trinidad

How to Succeed at Being Anti-Social: Lessons from the Oil Birds of Trinidad

Aripo Caves, Trinidad

'Guacharo' or oil bird

You have got to feel bad for oil birds. Amerindians would boil the young down and use their incredibly high oil content for cooking or to light torches. It is even said that the young were used to create torches directly; impaling them a stick and igniting could provide light for hours!  I had the opportunity to see this unique species while conducting field work in Trinidad.  A day-long hike in the Northern Range brought us to the mouth of their cave.  If you are an anti-socialite, take a few tips from the oil birds:

 

Live in a remote location: Make sure to live as far away as possible. The oil birds of Trinidad live in a cave, in the mountains, in the rainforest, on an island. That is tough to beat!

Alter your sleep schedule: Figure out when those you want to avoid are most active, and then adjust your lifestyle to live oppositely to that. Oil birds are the only fruit eating nocturnal bird species in the world!

Develop your own spy gear: Create an early warning security system for intruder detection. Oil birds navigate in the dark using echolocation.

Avoid cleaning to ensure a good stench: Learn to love living in your own feces. Oil bird nests are created predominately from regurgitated matter. Cave living results in large amounts of guano covering rock surfaces. If there is a sure-fired way to avoid your enemies, a good stench will do it.

Sound like a T-Rex: Oil birds have an unmistakable clacking hiss call. The archaic noise sounds like it comes from the underworld. Watch from 12:30-13:10.

Cohabitate with the like-minded: If you must make friends, do so with those who share your perspective. The oil birds share the Aripo caves with many bat species.

Photos from the hike: http://www.flickr.com/photos/travelingchicha/sets/72157629158910267/

Related Links:

http://vimeo.com/18853400

http://www.darkeypang.org.uk/level1_pages/trinidad/oilbird_caves_of_trinidad.htm

http://www.oiseaux-birds.com/card-oilbird.html

 

What is the craziest animal that you have seen? Where did you see it? Comment below!