This blue marble

– and yet it spins

What does it take to float?

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amazon-1Each morning, as the sun rose, I sat on the porch with my tea cup and watched a couple of thousands cormorants fly past out to the river mouth. For twenty minutes the air was filled with streamlined black missiles flying without other sound than the whoosh of their wings, determined not to miss breakfast. Each afternoon, a few hours before sunset, the black mass of birds flew back in to sleep in the trees.

Cormorants are skilled divers; yet their innate state is to float on the water. But are they buoyant because of their bones or their plumage? If birds did not have feathers, would they sink?

(Mamiraua National Park, Amazon, Brazil; September 2012)

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