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Sweet Stowaway

The Gulf of Mexico is not full of flowers. Nor is the WHOI-operated research vessel Atlantis bedecked with gardens. Still, if you are an itinerant hummingbird—migrating perhaps, or blown out to sea by a storm—a ship at sea makes a fortuitous temporary haven. Especially, when sympathetic crew members jury–rig a feeder for you, filled with sugar water. Avian stowaways are not uncommon sights on Atlantis. On a March 2014 expedition to test the newly upgraded Alvin submersible, a flock of seven white egrets flew abreast of the ship for many miles, occasionally pausing to perch on its railings and rest their wings. (Photo by Lonny Lippsett, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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