May 25, 2018 – Yelkouan Shearwater or Levantine Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan)
Found throughout the Mediterranean and Black Seas, these shearwaters breed on rocky islands, islets, and steep cliffs along the coasts of the Mediterranean. They feed on small schooling fish and squid, sometimes diving to capture prey. Breeding between November and July, they visit their nesting colonies only at night. Classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN, adults are often caught unintentionally during long-line fishing and their chicks and eggs are threatened by invasive rats and cats.
April 7, 2018 – Great Shearwater or Greater shearwater (Ardenna gravis)
Breeding only on several islands in the South Atlantic, including Gough, Nightingale, and Inaccessible Islands, these shearwaters spend the rest of the year in much of the Atlantic and part of the southwest Indian Ocean. They mostly feed on fish, squid, and some crustaceans, as well as offal, which they scavenge from fishing boats. They dive from the air or surface of the water, swim underwater, or pluck prey from the surface, sometimes feeding near whales and dolphins. Pairs nest in colonies of thousands, lining nest chambers at the end of burrows with grass. Females lay a single egg which both parents incubate. Parents visit the burrows at night to feed the chicks.
May 30, 2017 – Cory’s Shearwater, Atlantic Shearwater, Mediterranean Cory’s Shearwater, Mediterranean Shearwater, North Atlantic Shearwater, or Scopoli’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)
Nesting mostly on cliffs and islands in the Mediterranean, these shearwaters also breed on the Canary Islands, Salvage Islands, Berlengas Islands, and the Azores. They winter off South Africa into the southwest Indian Ocean and off the east coasts of North and South America. Eating fish, squid, crustaceans, and scraps from fishing boats, they pluck prey from the surface of the water or just below it. They breed in colonies, which may include other seabird species, building their nests inside long burrows or crevices in rocks. Pairs are probably monogamous and seem to reuse nest sites for multiple years. Both parents incubate the single egg in alternating weeklong shifts. The chicks reach breeding age at between 7 and 13 years old.
December 29, 2016 – Sooty Shearwater (Ardenna grisea or Puffinus griseus)
Requested by: @crabbiey
These shearwaters are found across most of the world’s oceans, excluding the Arctic and Indian Oceans. Their diet varies by region, but is mainly fish and crustaceans, along with squid and jellyfish in some areas. Large flocks fish by diving into the water from several feet in the air and propelling themselves with their wings beneath the surface. They also dive from the surface, or hunt while sitting on the water. Traveling a distance of around 40,000 miles (65,000 kilometers) during migration, they breed on the islands surrounding Australia, New Zealand, and the southern tip of South America. They build their nests in large colonies consisting of a network of burrows, each of which can be up to 10 feet (3 meters) long. Both parents incubate the eggs and care for the chicks, often returning to the same nesting site each year.
October 26, 2016 – Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus)
These shearwaters have a large range, spanning most of the Atlantic Ocean. They feed on small fish, squid, and crustaceans. Wintering along the coast of South America and breeding near the British Isles, their migration is one of the longest in the world. One individual was estimated to have traveled over five million miles (eight million kilometers) during its lifetime. Breeding in large colonies on small, largely uninhabited, islands, they build their nests in burrows. Parents only visit the nests at night to avoid predation, traveling hundreds of miles each day to find food for the chicks. They leave the chicks after 60 days and the chicks leave the nest eight or nine days later.
August 28, 2015 – Newell’s Shearwater or ‘A‘o (Puffinus newelli)
Found over deep waters in the North Pacific Ocean, these shearwaters breed only on several of the Hawaiian islands. They eat mostly squid and small fish, diving to hunt and often catching prey that has been driven to the surface by large predators. Nesting in burrows, which they usually dig under ferns or grasses at the base of trees, both parents incubate a single egg and care for the chick together. Newell’s Shearwaters are classified as Endangered. They face threats from artificial light, which can disorient young birds, causing them to crash into structures or fall to the ground exhausted, which makes them vulnerable to predators. Introduced mammals, such as feral cats, rats, and mongooses also prey on the chicks and eggs and habitat loss threatens their nesting areas. As most of the population breeds on one island, they are also at risk from hurricanes or other disasters. In 1992 Hurricane Iniki caused damage that seems to have led to a rapid decline in their population.