Gull shows her chick smooth liftoff without flapping her wings
Gull shows her chick smooth liftoff without flapping her wings

These gulls inhabit the rock cliffs on the isolated shoreline of the Galapagos Islands.

They live in a remote world where adaptation is crucial to survival.

Rearing their young on the edge of a sheer drop to the raging surf below provides an aspect of danger but it also reduces the chance that they will be vulnerable to predators.

The gull's food comes from the ocean below the cliffs as the mother makes frequent trips out over the water to snatch small fish from just below the surface.

She carries them back to feed her baby from sunrise to sunset, working hard to keep up with the ravenous chick.

This will continue as it grows rapidly.

It will soon take flight and leave the rocks to follow her out to sea.

The mother gives a beautiful demonstration of a graceful takeoff, stretching her wings wide and lifting smoothly off the rocks without even a single flap.

Shel slowly gains height and then banks to the right and arcs beautifully out over the waves with no effort.

The wind here is constant and the updraft provides the gull with an easy way to get back and forth with the smallest energy expenditure.

The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most diverse and unique animals on the entire planet.

Many have adapted to life in this hostile environment as the challenges they face result in evolutionary changes.

The animals are isolated from other populations, creating very different physical characteristics than those of animals in other countries.

The more we understand the life around us, the better we will be able to protect it.