Sea birds wintering off Maryland shores, 1972-73

Maryland Birdlife


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During the winter of 1972-73, studies were conducted to determine the status and distribution of pelagic species of birds occurring at sea as far as 38 miles east of Ocean City, Md. The wintering off-shore avifauna was found to be impressively rich in variety of species and numbers of individuals. Sightings included Fulmar and Skua, both first sight records for Maryland. Large alcids, especially Razorbills, were observed in unprecedented numbers and on five of the seven trips undertaken. Thick-billed Murre was sighted once and Dovekie, once. A Pomarine Jaeger was a mid-winter first for Maryland. Black-legged Kittiwakes were sighted on all seven trips, with age ratios consistently averaging about three adults to one immature. Likewise, Gannets were observed on all seven trips, 7.5 adults to one immature. Iceland Gulls were seen twice and Black-headed Gulls on three trips. Evidence of a definite migration was noted on Nov. 19, as Gannets were observed flying south in a narrow band, four miles wide, five to nine miles east of Ocean City, and Black-legged Kittiwakes, likewise, were heading south in a steady stream no closer than 14 miles east of Ocean City. Data accumulated from December through March suggest most pelagics occurring in Maryland waters during this period were truly wintering and not transients. This report is concerned primarily with the true pelagics normally found well away from the sight of land and does not dwell on those 'sea birds' commonly seen in immediate coastal waters.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Sea birds wintering off Maryland shores, 1972-73
Series title Maryland Birdlife
Volume 29
Issue 3
Year Published 1973
Language English
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 88-102
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Maryland Birdlife
First page 88
Last page 102