National Geographic : 1952 Sep
416 Norman Laird, Pix 4 Frightened Johnny Babies Cower. Mother Scans Sky Like an Air-raid Warden Timid at other times, Johnnies fight fiercely if their babies are threatened. Hissing with wrath, they shower intruders with blows from flippers and beaks. When the dread skua swoops over the rookery, brooding birds stretch high, ready to beat off an attack (right). Heads and eyes turn in unison, like those of spectators at a tennis match, and gauge the enemy's flight. Danger past, each parent inspects its offspring with near-sighted eyes. The skua, an intelligent pirate, often works in pairs. One gull worries the Johnny to distract her attention from the nest. Its partner, approaching from the opposite direction, seizes the nestling by its feet. Casualties run high; one witness saw skuas destroy every baby in a colony.