Several weeks ago, your SEANET blogger was contacted by Tina Marconi, who writes for the online site VetTech.org. The site is an information clearinghouse for people interested in becoming veterinary technicians. While the subject matter does not precisely match our own here at SEANET, Tina asked if we ever accept guest posts. Since your SEANET blogger whole-heartedly supports people learning more about seabirds, I encouraged her to write something up for us. I am happy to present Tina’s finished product: a few brief profiles of some of our Atlantic species.
We invite anyone to propose a potential blog topic, and encourage our readers to do this sort of mini-research project. Thanks for the post, Tina!
Meet a Few East Coast Sea Birds
by: Tina Marconi
If you love bird watching and if you don’t mind training your eyes on the skies when you’re at the beach or enjoying the bracing weather of the coast, then you’d love watching the actions of seabirds and listening to their raucous cries. Some of them make the home along the coast, some are just visiting on their way towards warmer climes during their migratory journey, and some are there to stay for the summer before they make their way back home when the weather starts to change. If you enjoy watching seabirds, here are a few that you can find commonly along the East Coast:
- Wilson’s Storm Petrel: This is one of the most common seabirds in the world, and it’s identifiable by its brown plumage and white behind. It’s a small, nocturnal bird which avoids coming in to land even in the moonlight in order to avoid falling prey to other seabirds like gulls and skuas. It lives mostly in the skies, and when it does land, walks with a short shuffle. It builds its nest along rocky crevices on coastal cliffs, and spends just the breeding period on land; for the rest of the year, it is out at sea. This makes the Wilson’s Petrel extremely rare to see, except during its breeding season.
- Greater Shearwater: The Greater Shearwater is one of the few bird species that migrates from the Southern to the Northern hemisphere. It nests in large colonies in burrows or in the grass, and these birds visit their nests only at night to avoid being eaten by large gulls. It is a large bird which flies in large numbers, with its wings out straight and stiff without too much flapping. It skims fish off the surface or plunges into the water to catch prey.
- Black Guillemot: This bird can be identified by its predominantly black plumage, white patches on both wings, and its large, red feet. It lays its eggs on rocky shores and cliffs near the water, and doesn’t migrate very far from its breeding grounds. It carries fish crosswise in its bill, and it can stay underwater for up to a little more than 2 minutes. It is one of the few birds that breed in volcanic islands. During breeding season, the birds call out to their mates in a high whistle. The Black Guillemot is a member of the puffin family which lives closer to the shore than in the open sea.
This guest post is contributed by Tina Marconi, she writes for VetTech.org. She welcomes your comments at her email id: tinamarconi85[@]gmail[.]com.