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New Paper Friday

Foraging areas of Leach's storm petrels

Patricia Jones

 Petrel burrow on Kent Island, photo by Fred Field

Petrel burrow on Kent Island, photo by Fred Field

New paper out with data from Kent Island! April Hedd from Environment and Climate Change Canada has published a paper this week in PLOS One. In 2013 and 2014 Dr. Hedd and her team put global location sensors (GLS) on petrels from 7 breeding sites in the Canadian Maritimes including Kent Island. In total, they obtained data from 133 petrels. From Kent Island, 17 petrels produced data (out of 20 tagged) in 2013 and 15 (out of 20 again) in 2014. On average, petrels made 4 day foraging trips which were 400 to over 800 km away from their burrows. Most of the petrels headed out to forage in deep oceanic shelves off the coast. The Kent Island petrels were different, foraging mostly over shallow water closer to shore. As you can see in the map below, they cover the entire Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank! Kent Island birds tended to have longer foraging trips than birds from other sites, but they covered smaller areas. Their foraging ranges overlapped by over 60% across years. Kent Island falls in the southernmost part of the range of storm petrels, and their different foraging behavior is likely to be influenced by their geographic location. It's wonderful to think about the birds we see on Kent Island having foraged off of Cape Cod a few days before!

 Figure 2 from Hedd et al. 2018.

Figure 2 from Hedd et al. 2018.