Shearwater season

2 08 2011

Greater Shearwater, dorsal view. Note the white rump characteristic of the species. (photo by Ray Bosse)

While not at all a severe year in terms of Greater Shearwater mortalities, it is that time of year again, and we’ve received a handful of reports of dead GRSH from Buzzard’s Bay in Massachusetts. Ray Bosse has found two since the end of May, and the Lloyd Center’s Jamie Bogart tells us that he spotted a few more last month as well. July is the standard time for the birds to turn up dead on Northeast beaches. Our southern colleagues tend to see them earlier, in May and June as the migrating birds make their way up the U.S. coast.

SEANET is currently partnering with the folks at the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) in Georgia to mine our collective shearwater necropsy data for gems of knowledge. Hopefully, we can begin to get a handle on the general profile of birds turning up dead on the beaches (age, sex, cause of death when determinable) and then compare that information with environmental data (ocean temperatures, currents, prey availability, e.g.) to see what factors may be linked with high shearwater mortality in some years. We are very pleased to be a part of this project, and are very happy to be working with Dr. Nicole Nemeth at SCWDS who has shouldered most of the work. We look forward to seeing the analysis!

Ventral surface (underside). Note the species' tell-tale white belly with a smudgy gray patch. (photo by Ray Bosse)

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One response

3 08 2011
Michelle Cheywynd

While I have nothing noteworthy to add, I do enjoy reading these. Nice to read about something new to me.

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