Royal Tern, Brown Pelicans, Pelagic birds, RALPH W. HAVARD, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Biology Department, STEVEN P. PLATANIA, Ornithologists' Union, Royal Terns, southeastern North Carolina, Robert Needham, North Carolina Ricky Davis, Baja California, Oregon Inlet, KACHEMAK BAY WILDERNESS LODGE China Poor Bay, Alaska, Homer Alaska, Australasia, J. Bryan Nelson, North Carolina, Amadeo Rea, Blue-faced Booby, skeletal remains, avian habitats, Pacific Oceania
RARE OCCURRENCE Blue-faced Booby in North Carolina
Ricky Davis and Robert Needham
After the first month, the bird left the islandfor longerperiods;and by late August,it left theislandin themorning, stayed away all day, and returned to roostin the earlyevening.When returning, the bird flew straightin from the ocean,lessthana mile away. The booby was seen off and on at
NJUN23E1, 98W1,HIbLaEnding juvenile Brown Pelicans (Pele-
Here the bird depositedsticks in a randommannerandkeptneighboringterns
canus occidentalis) in the Cape Fear out of the area. Apparently all of the
River, south of Wilmington, North surrounding nesting activity had in-
Carolina; the authors and Alice Allen-
fluenced the bird's behavior to some
Grimes and Lawrence R
osas found a extent, but this random placementof
large white bird on the island and inf- sticks failed to resemble a nest.
fairly regularintervals(exceptfor a 2week periodin early August). There was no unusualweatherpatternpriorto or duringtheinitialsighting to explainthe appearanceof thisbird in southeastern North Carolina. It is felt
mediately thought it was a Sulid. The observers were without binoculars, scopes,or camerasand decidedto approachthe bird to affordthebestpossi- ble view of the field marks. Size of the bird was clearly larger than the Royal Terns
(Sterna maxima) that were present, but smaller than a Gannet (Morus bassanus). The Bill W
as yellowish and the eyes were yellow. There was a dark mask surroundingthe bill andeyes. Leg color was a grayish-green. We approachedwithin about 50 ft when the bird flew. We could then see the white head
, neck, back, breast, andbelly. The
The bird usuallystayednearthe nesting Royal Terns. Once the Royal Tern nestingwas finishedit remainedalonein a grassy depression,but would often walk down to the beach and then return to the grassydepression. The bird's walk was clumsywith the whole body moving from side to side. The flightconsistedof severalflapsand a longglideon outstretchedwings.The bird could circle the island in a very shorttime, makingit easyto losesight of him. We never heard any vocaliza- tions.
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primariesand rear edgeof the second- aries were solid black. There were a few
black feathers on the white rump and the white tail had black outer feathers.
We then left the island and checked the literature. After referring to the book on the Sulidae by J. Bryan Nelson (1978),
Once a River
we agreed it was an adult Blue-faced (Masked) Booby (Sula dactylatra).
Bird Lifo oncl Hobitot Chongos On tho Midclio Gilo
The next morning, the authors re-
turnedto the islandand photographed
the bird whichwasobserveddefending
an area located within a large Royal
Tern colony on the dome of the island.
BIRDER'S LIFE LIST
INewandupdatedchecklisct overs continental U.S., Alaska and Canada. Copies now available for $5.00 ppd. from Godwit Press,426 W. 23rd St. (8), New York, N.Y. 10011
by Amadeo M. Rea
Environmentaal buse hasturned a thrivingriver into a dry bed in Arizona; yet a mere two centuries
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Amadeo Rea, curatorof birdsat San Diego
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2- startlingbook. Drawingon ethnohistoricalsources,skeletal remains
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Adult Blue-faced(masked)Booby, Cape Fear, North Carolina, June-August, 1981. Photo/Robert Needham. that the bird may have chosen this is- land as a summer residence because of the presenceof a large number of colo- nial nesters which included about 5000 pairs of Royal and Sandwich terns (Sterna sandvicensis), 320 pairs of Brown Pelicansand 500 pairs of Laughing Gulls (Larus atricilla). It is a mystery as to why this bird stayed so far north of its normal range.
The A.O.U. Checklist (1957) statesthat the normalrangefor Blue-facedBooby is the Dry Tortugas, Florida and throughout the Caribbean Sea; but casually ranging to the coast of South Carolina
and the northern Gulf of Mex- ico. Duncan and Harvard (1980) state that Blue-faced Booby can be found regularlyduringthe warmer monthsoff the Gulf States
,especiallyAlabama. In North Carolinathere are two hypothetical occurrencesrecorded. One reports two immatures after tropical storm Alma off the Bogue Banks June 7, 1966 (Chat 30:107), and the other has sightingsof 1-2(adults?)off Oregon Inlet and near Diamond Shoals July 7 and 1i, 1979 (Chat 43:80). This last instance was reported by David Lee
of the N.C. StateMuseumofNaturalHistory,who has been making systematic pelagic trips off North Carolina during the past 2 years. The present record seems all the more unusual when the numerous trips by Lee (and others) have failed to produce any positive evidence of the bird's occurrence in North Carolina wa- ters.
uesters tor 1983 Travelwitha purpose.Learnand discoverS. earch outplantsandanimals,birdsandflowersE. xplorerain forest
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From the very first sighting,the authorsfelt that a generalalert to the birdwatching world would be highly detrimental to the nesting Brown Pelicans. Birders were notified as soon as the young pelicans reached an adequate size, and the authorsexpresstheir appreciation to all those who understood and followed our voluntary restrictions on access to the island. We also wish to thank Dr. J.F. Parnell of the Biology Department, UNC-Wilmington for his guidancein preparingthisreport. Banding of the Brown Pelican was conducted under researchsupportedby the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
ION (A.O.U.). 1957. Check-list ofNorth America
n birds. Fifth ed. Ameri-
can Ornithologists' Union, Baltimore, MD
DUNCAN, CHARLES D. and RALPH
W. HAVARD. 1980. Pelagic birds of the northern Gulf of Mexico
. Am. Birds
HOLMES, R.P. 1966. Atlantic Blue-faced
Booby off Bogue Banks, North Carolina. Chat 30:107.
LEE, DAVID S. and STEVEN P.
PLATANIA. 1979. Unverified sight records of seabirds in North Carolina
waters. Chat 43:79-81.
NELSON, J· BRYAN. 1978.The Sulidae,
Gannets and Boobies. Aberdeen Univ.
Studies Series No. 154. Oxford Univ.
Press. 1012 pp.
--126 Duncansby Ct.. Cary, NC 27511.
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