The Blue Footed Booby

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1. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 2008 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

One of my bucket list items is the Galapagos. I was talking to Robert my son and Kathleen my daughter-in-law and I mentioned that and said that I probably would never get there, and Kathy immediately said that she would go with me. I was surprised. Then Rob said they would both go.

Originally we were going in September/October of this year. But my son got a new job last October and moved to NJ so after a bunch of discussion (they are in a tiny apartment and are buying a house and Kathy has to get her papers from California so she can get a job) Kathy said they would do it in March next year.

So Rob called and it turns out that Kathy wants to see the dance of the blue footed boobies. I was going to take a snorkeling/wildlife cruise on Celebrity Xpedition in September 2021, but I am not sure that this is the way to see the blue footed boobies. All I can find out is that they do the dance in the spring on North Seymour Island. Most of the cruises come into an airport near there, so it might be possible, but I don't know for sure.

I don't think I could do a land tour - that is fly there and do excursions on land. I have had a hip replacement in November, and I am getting around better (I can climb steps now as long as there are railings - which is good as the ship does not have elevators) but not well enough to do a lot of walking on land. In the water I'm good. So does anyone know about how likely it would be to see the mating dance of the blue footed booby from a ship excursion?

2. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1603 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Quoting greatgrandmaR

So does anyone know about how likely it would be to see the mating dance of the blue footed booby from a ship excursion?

If you can't get a reliable answer here, it might be worth contacting the Galapagos Conservation Trust - they should be able to help.

3. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1523 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Borisborough provides an excellent Web link.

If you plan to go in March you might be disappointed as the mating season doesn't begin until perhaps May at the earliest.

There are many YouTube videos of the dance. The best views are on shore.

4. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 2008 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Thank you both. I was actually thinking of going in September, but the blogs on the internet said March.

I am sure that the best views are on shore - what I need to find out is if Kathy can go to see them. I am more interested in Darwin's finches and the reptiles and various sea creatures.

5. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1781 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Whatever happens, I hope your trip works out. I love blue-footed boobies. If you don't find them in the Galapagos, we have them in southern coastal California . . . and occasionally even as far inland as the Salton Sea.

Good luck.

6. Posted by MidlandTravelEC (Budding Member 2 posts) 47w 2 Star this if you like it!

Hello from Ecuador!

I know that this post is very old but I’m new at Travelers Point and when I read your post, I felt like I could provide some useful information about this matter and since you are planning to visit the Galapagos Islands on September 2021, I guess there is still some time left to gather some information about the blue footed boobies mating dance.

In first place about your concrete final question “So does anyone know about how likely it would be to see the mating dance of the blue footed booby from a ship excursion?” the answer is Yes, actually the best way to see this is from an excursion cruise ship / yacht, this is because cruises visit more islands and remote sites where this event takes place, including North Seymour Island. A Galapagos cruise is not only about snorkeling but also hiking in order to spot wildlife, so everything depends on choosing a cruise with the right route or itinerary to have more chances to see the blue footed boobies mating dance. Of course during a cruise like this you will also see other birds like Finches, reptiles (marine and land iguanas, tortoises, etc.) and plenty marine wildlife as well, so don’t worry a cruise expedition will suit the expectative of your whole family, it is just a matter of choosing the right cruise with the right route. This means that you don’t have to worry about a land based tour, you are heading in the right direction with the expedition cruise tour.

So in order to have more chances to see the blue footed mating dance the route of your cruise must include North Seymour Island for sure (many cruises include North Seymour into their routes), but there are other islands and visit sites where this event happens, so if during the cruise you could visit 2 or 3 points where the blue footed boobies nest, then the chances for Kathy to see this are much higher. The other points where this event can be seen are Punta Suarez in Española Island and Isla Lobos a small islet just nearby San Cristobal Island, so this means that your cruise route should cover the de center to the south east of the Galapagos archipelago. I’m not sure if the celebrity xpedition cruise that you are booking does that route on the date that you are visiting, but if you haven’t book it yet then you have the chance to explore a bit more about different cruise options with the best route according to your preferences and what you want to see (I know celebrity xpedition is a good cruise, but I personally think that there are better options, more valuable for the money and most importantly with the exact route that you need in order to see this).

Finally regarding the right time of the year to visit in order to see the mating dance of the blue footed boobies, the truth is that this event can happen the whole year! This is because the Galapagos Islands are on the equator line, in Ecuador we don’t have seasons, there are not extreme weather conditions over here, which means that there is “rainy” season and “dry” season only but even this is not guaranteed, you can have some light rains on the dry season and also some sunny days in the rainy season. Since blue footed boobies are permanent residents in the Galapagos Islands, they don’t migrate and plus having this relative stable weather conditions, they can mate on any month of the year, there are other factors that determine the mating, if there has been a good year with plenty of food for example among other factors including luck! Haha that is the beauty about nature and spotting wildlife in a place like this, nothing is 100% guaranteed and you got to be a bit lucky to see what you want to see, but of course visiting as most spots where the mating dance can be seen increases the probabilities a lot. I have been to the Galapagos Islands some times and I’ve been lucky to see the blue footed boobies mating dance more than once, I saw it once in October, once in September and another time around April or May I guess it was, so if you come in May or September 2021 then Kathy will have the same chances to see it.

Sorry for the long post but I hope that this information has been useful to you and most importantly that you do end up visiting the Galapagos Islands, it is truly a unique place in the world that deserves to be visited at least once in a life time :)

Alejandro S.

7. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 2008 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Thank you - your post is very helpful to me especially the part about where the boobies are found and when they might mate. I have booked a cruise but it isn't on Celebrity. I'm just hoping that we can travel by then.

8. Posted by MidlandTravelEC (Budding Member 2 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Oh I'm glad to hear that! fingers crossed so Kathy can see the blue footed boobies mating dance ;) and yes tourism is reactivating over here, the Galapagos islands have taken all the bio security measures for a safe tourism operation and actually is one of the safest destinations to travel during this pandemic, so lets be positive and hope for the best so you can travel without any inconvenient.

Good luck!