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Tough Guy

Seabird Predation on Fishes in the Columbia River Plume

A project of Pacific Procellariid Research Consortium.


click map for full-size version
Trackline for sooty shearwater "Tough Guy." Tough Guy is the first shearwater to be fitted with a satellite transmitter in the rough seas off the Columbia River mouth. This bird is now part of a larger flock of shearwaters seen off Willapa Bay, WA on 16 May 2005. Samples of forage fish taken nearby on 12 May 2005 captured predominantly anchovy but also included sardine, whitebait smelt, and herring.

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Species: Sooty Shearwater
Life Stage: Sub-Adult to Adult
Gender: Unknown
Release Date: 2005-05-15 06:12:00
Release Location: Columbia River Plume
Last Location: 2005-06-14 21:18:29

Background

The sooty shearwater is a long-lived, wide-ranging pelagic seabird. This bird nests on sub-Antarctic islands off New Zealand, Tasmania, and Chile. After nesting in the Southern Hemisphere, shearwaters undertake long-distance migrations to feed in the productive waters of the Northern Hemisphere's California Current. Off the Oregon and Washington coasts, sooty shearwaters are the most abundant seabird during May to September. Aggregations of up to 20,000 birds have been observed near river mouths, on the boundary between freshwater outflow from land and saltwater in the ocean. Large tornado-like flocks ("sooty swirls") participate in feeding frenzies on schooling fish, often in the company of many other species of marine birds and mammals.