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Ashy Storm-Petrels

Posted by: roy-lagemann | June 5, 2009 | 1 Comment |

One of the unique birds that nest on the Channel Islands is the Ashy storm-petrel. Their world wide population is estimated to be between 5,200 and 10,000 individuals and has been declining over the past 50 years due to predation, light from fishing boats, and pollution, and has earned these birds an endangered status. These small seabirds are easily identified by their long forked tail and small tube shaped structure on top of their bill which houses their nostrils and is used for salt excretion. Ashy storm-petrels breed solely on islands off the coast of California and Baja California, and do not venture far from these areas during non-breeding months.

Harry with an Ashy Storm-Petrel

The Ashy Storm-Petrel


We caught one storm petrel when we were out spotlighting for Xantus’ murrelets. It was exciting to have one in the hand for a short time before it was banded and released. They have a unique smell!

Ashy-storm petrels nest in little crevices and caves on the islands. They come into their nest sites at night after spending the day out feeding. They have a long chirpy trilling call. Another colony of Ashy storm petrels is on the Farallon Islands. We are looking forward to hearing more about these birds from Eleanor who is going to the Farallon Islands this weekend.

Kristen with her new Storm-Petrel friend right before it was released

Kristen with her new Storm-Petrel friend right before it was released

Filed under: Channel Islands
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Responses -

Thanks for the shout out (about the petrels, I will do my best to take some pictures and add to the collection). You guys look like you’re having tons of fun. Nina tells me you’re headed up here to do some stuff at PRBO. Leave a little bit of time to walk around the marshes here, and bring a bird book. It is GORGEOUS! Have a safe drive 🙂

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