[CT Birds] Bermuda Petrels in winter

Julian Hough jrhough1 at snet.net
Wed Jan 6 19:35:05 EST 2010

Interesting post about telemetry tracking of Cahows..(especially for those in the UK and western Europe) and brings to mind the recent Mass record this year in June of a bird well-photographed by a researcher south-west of Nantucket shoals.

Cahow update

Jeremy Madeiros

Cahows return to breed in mid-October and as of late December, Jeremy Madeiros had already confirmed 96 pairs. Perhaps a few more pairs will be confirmed in the New Year to break the 100 mark! This does not mean that all the pairs will necessarily lay an egg - but the prospects are good for another record year. The increase in numbers has of course been aided by the translocation project - spear-headed by Jeremy (moving young Cahows from burrows on small islets to artificial burrows on Nonsuch Island from which they fledged). Nonsuch Island was successfully imprinted on these Cahows as some translocated birds from 2004, 2005 and 2006 have returned to the island. One pair raised "Somers? in the last breeding season and there are already 6 pairs established on Nonsuch.

The other big news concerns the use of data loggers on the Cahows, explained by Jeremy Madeiros in a lecture to the Society in November. "Lotek? data loggers were attached to 12 birds earlier this year. These archival geolocational data loggers weigh only 4.7 grams and can determine the daily position of the birds when at sea. Information can be downloaded directly onto a laptop computer when the birds return to their nest burrows. This can be done without having to remove the loggers from the birds, and the loggers can then be reset to continue gathering daily position as well as water temperatures for up to two years. During the breeding season, feeding trips involved distances of anywhere between 1,500-4,000 miles and over a wide area to the west and north of Bermuda. What everyone really wanted to know was where the birds went in the non-breeding season. So far, three of the birds have been re-captured and data retrieved. There were the predicted visits to the Gulf Stream to the west, but one route went north to the Bay of Fundy, into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and over the Grand Banks. One bird which had a failed nesting attempt left the nesting burrow early. By April-May it was in the northwest Atlantic, at one point only 125-150 miles off the southwest tip of Ireland. Even though no-one has seen the bird - is the Cahow now on the bird lists for Canada and Ireland?"

Julian Hough,
jrhough1 at snet.net


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