Last weekend John Puschock reported that a Black-capped Petrel (Pterodroma
hasitata) had been salvaged in Lake Co., Florida. This species is a member
of the shearwater family (related to albatrosses) and typically lives in the
food-rich Gulf Stream waters of the Atlantic, except when breeding on islands
in the West Indies during the winter. It is uncommon to rare off Florida's
Atlantic coast, and very rare in the Gulf of Mexico.
Based upon information provided by the wildlife rehabber to whom a
veterinarian gave the live bird, the petrel was delivered by unknown persons
to the veterinarian in a weakened condition on 2 March 2001. On 3 March
2001, the bird died as so often do individuals of pelagic species (species
that spend most of their lives over open oceanic waters out of sight of land)
that are displaced inland and in a weakened condition.
Why this bird ended up in a trailer park on Lake Griffin is unknown at this
time and may never be determined (in past years there have been inland
Florida reports of typically pelagic species seemingly not associated with
obvious, unusual weather conditions). To my knowledge, this is the second
inland occurrence of this species in Florida, and the third reported in
Florida in the winter. This bird was donated to the University of Central
Florida, Orlando, where it has been prepared as a study skin for the school's
Our own Earl "Bubba" Scales, who lives in that neck of the woods, is
investigating for more details, and is planning to publish a note about the
bird in a future issue of the "Florida Field Naturalist."
Good birding to all,
Bruce H. Anderson
winter season editor, Florida Region, "North American Birds"
Winter Park, FL
[log in to unmask]