Observed birds in the Tasman Sea

While spending 3 weeks on a oceanographic research vessel in the Tasman Sea, Australia, the crews and research team encountered various species of birds. There are a few species of albatrosses that are localized to the Southern Pacific and the Southern Ocean.

Albatrosses are known as big sea bird with large wingspans. They usually can glide around for a long time without flapping their wings. Using the turbulence from the waves, the albatrosses can pick up lift from gliding extremely close to the surface of water where the waves are close to breaking. These flying birds always keep their eyes leveled to the horizon in order to keep themselves oriented.

We also encountered petrels. Petrels are smaller sea birds. They are 2-10 times smaller than the albatrosses and yet they survive in rough sea conditions. The petrels would dive to catch food whereas the albatrosses would only feed near the surface.

We only saw the white-faced storm petrels at night when they landed on our ship. They do that because the ship is a bright source of light where they would head toward. Once they arrived and landed, they might get disoriented and sea-sick which prevented them from flying again until the morning. We found many white-faced storm petrels on the ship the morning after they landed in tight and dark places. We pick them up and released into the sea when we found them. Nevertheless, these birds are resilient creatures that can survive in the open ocean where there might be hardly any food around.

Leave a Reply