Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Our word of the week is carey chicks which is one of the Newfoundland terms for Leach's Storm-Petrels. Here's an intro to the Leach's Storm-Petrel from the folks at the The Birds of North America Online.

Oceanodroma leucorhoa
– Family

Authors: Huntington, Charles E., Ronald G. Butler, and Robert A. Mauck

Leach’s Storm-Petrel, also known as Leach’s Petrel and Mother Cary’s Chicken, is the most widespread procellariiform breeding in the Northern Hemisphere. More than eight million pairs nest in burrows or crevices on Atlantic islands from Norway to Massachusetts and on Pacific islands from Baja California to Hokkaido, Japan. Outside the long nesting season, these seabirds disperse widely in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, well away from land and mainly in the tropics. Millions more nonbreeders, mostly immatures, remain at sea year-round, although many of them visit colonies during the nesting season. Small and dark and not usually gregarious or attracted to ships, this species is inconspicuous at sea. Even at nesting islands, individuals fly to and from their subterranean nests only at night. Many aspects of their lives remain mysteries.

Breeding populations in the North Atlantic Ocean are quite similar to those in the Aleutian Islands of the North Pacific and are considered the same subspecies. Taxonomic treatment of populations with increasingly dark-rumped individuals southward in the eastern Pacific is still tentative. Of interest and worth continued investigation are the distinct populations with different egg-laying seasons on Guadalupe Island off Baja California (Power and Ainley 1986). Much work remains to determine the nonbreeding distributions of these populations. The smaller, dark-rumped Swinhoe’s Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma monorhis), nesting off Japan, Korea, China, and Russia, is so similar it has been considered a race of Leach’s Storm-Petrel; the two are appropriately considered a superspecies.

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REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English is brought to you by Rattling Books, an audiobook publisher based in Newfoundland. Rattling Books has a special fondness for the carey chick.

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