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Snowy Sheathbill--Anvers Island
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Snowy Sheathbill--Anvers Island

June 5, 2012
A snowy sheathbill at Anvers Island, Antarctica. Snowy sheathbills are scavengers, acquiring much of their nourishment by stealing food already caught by penguins and shags or by eating human refuse. For this reason, they frequently live close to gentoo and chinstrap penguin or shag colonies. They primarily live around the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Sheathbills can grow to 40 centimeters (16 inches) in length with a wingspan of 79 centimeters (31 inches). The National Science Foundation funds and manages the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), which carries forward the nation's goals of supporting the Antarctic Treaty, fostering cooperative research with other nations, protecting the Antarctic environment, and developing measures to ensure only equitable and wise use of resources. The program comprises research by scientists selected from universities and other research institutions and operations and support by a contractor and other agencies of the U.S. Government. NSF operates three U.S. scientific stations year-round on the continent: McMurdo Station located on the Ross Sea--Antarctica's largest station that serves as a gateway to Antarctica for U.S. scientific field teams as well as the hub for most of the U.S. scientific activity; Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, located 841 statute miles inland from McMurdo, at the geographic South Pole; and Palmer Station, located on Anvers Island in the Antarctic Peninsula region. To learn more about the program, visit the USAP website. (Date of Image: October 2006) Credit: Glenn Grant, National Science Foundation