Doug Suitor is correct; yesterday’s dead bird is a Cory’s Shearwater. While Greater Shearwaters are somewhat commonly found on SEANET beaches in the summer months, the Cory’s is a much rarer find. SEANET is interested in hearing a bit more from Doug about his reports of Cory’s taking over the Gulf of Maine this summer; we are always intrigued by the link between live bird movements and beached carcasses.
The Cory’s Shearwater is a relatively common visitor to the Northwest Atlantic. Breeding in the Azores and the Mediterranean, they distinguish themselves from most other Atlantic shearwaters who breed in the southern hemisphere. Since their breeding season runs from March to October, birds seen off the U.S. coast during that timeframe are usually immatures or non-breeders.
The Cory’s also prefers warmer water than our more familiar Greater Shearwater, and is seen in the northern Atlantic in greater numbers during years of particularly warm ocean temperatures. SEANET also wonders if such a temperature shift might be at play in Doug’s report of larger than usual numbers of Cory’s off New England this year.