Cahow spotted off Nova Scotia

  • Michael Force, Northeast Fisheries Science Center/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A Cahow swoops low to the ocean in this photo taken by a scientist on board a US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel as it crossed the far eastern edge of Georges Bank more than 130 miles south of Nova Scotia and more than 600 miles north of Bermuda last week. Thought to have been extinct for more than 300 years, the Cahow is believed to range across most of the North Atlantic before returning to Bermuda to breed on the remote Castle Islands, where it had clung to life before being spotted in 1951.

    Michael Force, Northeast Fisheries Science Center/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration A Cahow swoops low to the ocean in this photo taken by a scientist on board a US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel as it crossed the far eastern edge of Georges Bank more than 130 miles south of Nova Scotia and more than 600 miles north of Bermuda last week. Thought to have been extinct for more than 300 years, the Cahow is believed to range across most of the North Atlantic before returning to Bermuda to breed on the remote Castle Islands, where it had clung to life before being spotted in 1951.


A Bermuda cahow has been spotted more than 600 miles from home in waters off Canada.

The bird was photographed by Michael Force, who was on-board a research vessel approximately 130 miles south of Cape Sable — around 615 miles north of Bermuda.

Although it is known that the bird — which spends much of its life on the wing feeding over the most of the North Atlantic Ocean, no examples of the rare petrel had ever been spotted so far away from the Island - until now.

According to the website of the American Birding Association, the sighting was a first for Canada.

“The presence of this species in Canadian waters has been known for some time,” the website claimed.

“Bermuda petrels outfitted with geologgers were documented foraging along the east coast of North America as far north as Newfoundland, though no physical record of the bird’s presence has ever been found until now.

“The species is critically endangered, having famously been thought to be extinct for 330 years until the discovery of 18 pairs breeding in the eastern part of Bermuda in 1951.

“It has recovered somewhat, but the entire population consists still of only about 250 individual birds, so any sighting of this bird anywhere is fairly remarkable.

“That said, the Bermuda petrel is likely a regular visitor to Nova Scotian waters, and rare by virtue of its small population and the physical limitations of covering such a vast expanse or water.”

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Published Apr 28, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 27, 2014 at 11:35 pm)

Cahow spotted off Nova Scotia

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