Seabirds are among the world’s most remarkable birds. Possessing an amazing array of specialized adaptations for extended marine existence, as well as manifesting a remarkable variety of breeding and migratory strategies, seabirds have long been a favorite with both birders and research ornithologists. Some seabirds, such as the great albatrosses, may live for more than half a century and are capable of spending as much as eight or more years at sea without ever touching land. Other species like the tiny Wilson’s Storm-Petrel virtually travel from one end of the world to the other twice a year. With a keen olfactory ability, unique adaptations for removing salt from seawater, and a seemingly innate sense for navigating over trackless oceans, seabirds are truly extraordinary mariners.
In this presentation, Wayne Petersen will discuss seabird classification, feeding, breeding, and migratory strategies, and seabird adaptations. His comments will also focus on the significance of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary to seabirds off the Massachusetts coast and some of the important conservation issues facing seabird populations locally and beyond.