Rare seabird visits Bermuda

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HAMILTON, Bermuda, Jan 15, CMC  – A small seabird, the dovekie, has visited Bermuda for the first time in almost 50 years.
The dovekie, the smallest member of the auk family in the North Atlantic, was found at Ferry Point Park to the east of here by a group of American students on a field trip.
According to bird watcher Andrew Dobson, the dovekie was brought here by strong winds. Temperatures on Monday had fallen to a near-record low of 53F (12C), with winds gusting at 37 knots.
It was discovered by Professor Sea McKeon and students of Colby College, Waterville, Maine. The bird appeared healthy and they returned it to the water where it swam away.
“This is the first dovekie to be reported in Bermuda since December 1967, so it was a very significant find,” said Dobson who is the president of the Bermuda Audubon Society.
“It was obviously driven much further southeast than normal by the gales we have been experiencing.”
The discovery comes two weeks after Dobson spotted a common eider, another bird from a cold climate, near Clearwater Beach.
That was a first for Bermuda.
Other sightings over the past few weeks have included a snow goose, which breeds in Alaska, Greenland and Siberia, and two northern gannets, also from the North Atlantic.
But, according to Dobson, this is not a reflection of climate change.
“Unless we had multiple sightings, it’s just a coincidence,” he said.
“Every winter we get a few northern birds that turn up here as a result of winter storms driving them further south than usual.”

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