[CT Birds] Some Thoughts on Razorbills

Dennis Varza dennisvz at optonline.net
Tue Dec 13 19:27:01 EST 2011

Hi Folks

The occurrence of Razorbills the past two winter has gotten me  
thinking. Although their presence may be good for our lists, it may  
be the result of some environmental ill (bad weather, loss of  
expected food supply etc. Or, it could be a consequence of success  
and they are extending their range.

I think it may be the latter. Razorbills have occurred regularly in  
the past. Their numbers have been increasing, just as other fish- 
eating species have increased in Long Island Sound. The Razorbill may  
just be the next species to make Long Island Sound a regular   
destination. Another thing to consider is that seabirds are long  
lived, so that once they get into the habit of wintering at a  
location they will likely return and lead their offspring here. This  
is all speculation, time will tell.

Linsley (1843) recorded it for Stratford,

Merriam 1877 considered it rare in Long Island Sound.

The species was subjected to egg collecting until the migratory bird  
treaty in 1919 where it has since recovered.

Over the past 30 years fish eating birds have greatly increased in  
Long Island Sound.
Ospreys, Double-crested Cormorants, Herons, Gannets.

Below are the records I have for this species.
What is interesting is that the 1948 record is considered the third.  
But, I have yet to find one and two.

1948 Jan 3	New London	Oiled Bird, 3rd record	Logan	RNEB 4:7
1960 Dec —	New London	CBC Count Period		AFN V15P114
1966 Jan 2	Groton		Bates, K.	RNEB 22: Jan:09
1978 Apr 8	East Lyme		Alden, P. 	Ct. Birds
1991 Jan 10	New London, Pequot Beach.	Many Obs.	RSCB V6:1:2, CWSR 11:3
2001 Feb 2 	New London		Fritz Davis	CWSR 21:3

Dennis Varza

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