Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Paluman Marianas #1 - I Tettot

I recently transferred all my data from my old laptop to a new one and so I've been pumasesehu gi chalan hinasso for the past few weeks. I came across series of drawings I did several years ago while at the University of Guam, I Paluman Guahan, or more accurately I Paluman Marianas. I did them to complete my science credit at UOG so I could graduate. I did almost a dozen drawings of different birds. At one point the professor I did them for used them for t-shirts to raise funds to protect endangered species on Guam. Unfortunately he wasn't referring to Chamorros, he was referring to the birds. The first one I'll share is I Tettot, or the Marianas Fruit Dove.

Manaige este siha na klasin paluma giya Guahan, lao sisina ha' un sodda' gui' gi i sanlagu na islas siha, Luta, Saipan, yan i otro siha.


The Mariana Fruit-Dove or "tottot" as it is called in Chamoru, once graced Guam's forests with its smooth cooing call and beautiful bright colors. Brown tree snake (kulepbla) predation, however, has caused its extinction on Guam, although an occasional sighting is still reported, especially after a storm hits Rota. The tottot is still found on other Mariana Islands from Rota to Saipan.
The tottot has a purple cap, yellow and orange breast and bright yellow tail band. Its feathers are mostly green which allows them to blend into the leaves of trees as they make short flights to look for food. They eat fruits such as figs, inkberry and papåya.
The tottot lays only one egg in a flimsy nest built in the fork of a branch. Like all doves, the young are fed a milky substance produced in the lining of the parent's throat sac or "crop". The young are later fed fruit that has been partially digested.
This shy, easily disturbed bird holds special meaning for Guam because it is our Territorial Bird, the symbol of our island.
The Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources hopes that one day, when the kulepbla population is controlled or eradicated, we will be able to reintroduce the tottot back into Guam's forests.

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