Sooty Shearwater

Seabird Migration

Seabirds are marvelously adapted for covering great distances over seemingly trackless oceans and, as migrants go, they hold the records. The fabled Arctic Tern nests as far north as open land exists and travels the length of the oceans to winter at the other end of the world. It is a round trip of some 25,000 miles performed every year of the birds life.

More truly oceanic are the shearwaters, albatrosses, and storm-petrels, who spend most of their lives out of sight of land, coming ashore only to nest. One of the most numerous species in North American waters is the Sooty Shearwater. Sooty Shearwaters nest in islands deep in the Southern Hemisphere, mostly around New Zealand and the southern tip of South America. Breeding in burrows that they excavate on these islands during the southern summer (October through April), they depart northward after nesting to spend the southern winter at temperate North American latitudes. In late spring and throughout the summer, Sooty Shearwaters appear in large numbers off both American coasts, but they are especially prevalent on the West Coast, where thousands are often viewed from shore. By late summer the shearwaters are on their way back to the other end of the earth, literally circling its oceans in the process.

Migration Paths of the Sooty Shearwater ⇨

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