Sheer Numbers of Shearwaters

Thousands of sooty shearwaters descend on Monterey Bay each summer. (photo: E. Loury)

Monterey Bay is not only a tourist attraction for visitors from all over the world, it is also a destination spot for animals from across the globe.  Some animal visitors swim the distance, like the leatherback sea turtles that journey from the beaches of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.  Others just wing it for thousands of miles, like these seabirds called sooty shearwaters that hail all the way from New Zealand in flocks of hundreds and thousands.

Researchers think that the rich feeding conditions in the California Current are a major attraction for these long journeys.  MLML student Melinda Nakagawa put satellite tags on some sooty sheaterwaters to track their movements.  For her thesis, she is investigating how the birds move in relation to physical forces, such as winds and currents – such information will help us better understand these birds’ epic migrations.

This entry was posted in Cool Creatures, Erin Loury, Research: Fresh from the Field and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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