By Donald W. Stokes
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Extra info for A Guide to Bird Behavior, Volume I (Stokes Nature Guides)
On occasion, however, they stray nearer shore, and these 3 species are some mes seen on day trips oﬀ the West Coast. Cook’s Petrel (COPE). Fairly common far oﬀ West Coast, especially s. and cen. California in Apr–Sep; in some years ranges nearer shore. Usually seen singly, but can be found in loose flocks. Small, fast-flying petrel with bright white underparts. Gray upperparts have dark M pa ern and can blend easily against gray waters. Breeds Nov–Mar in New Zealand. Cook’s Petrels 49 Hawaiian Petrel (HAPE).
CA. Much like Scripps’s Murrelet (p. 37) but sleeker, with finer bill, longer tail o en cocked in point; also note deeper black cap with no white notch forward of eye. Underwings variably dusky overall, not gleaming white like Scripps’s. Manx Shearwater (MASH) Rare but increasing, mainly inshore in fall–spring. Small black-and-white shearwater with clean white undertail coverts. Flight snappier than Black-vented Shearwater (p. 31); towers steeply into and across strong winds. Breeds Apr–Sep in North Atlan c, recent colonist in North Pacific.
Sure enough, but every spring and fall millions of landbirds migrate, and many of them fly over water, some intentionally, others not. Especially in fall, when inexperienced young are migrating, you may see the occasional landbird far out at sea, ranging from owls and doves to warblers and sparrows. Exhausted birds often land on boats and sometimes even on people! This wayward Blackpoll Warbler Setophaga striata rested on a whale researcher near Cordell Bank. Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater is one of the songbirds most frequently seen offshore, here experiencing a marine toilet!