[Mystery bird] Ancient Murrelet, Synthliboramphus antiquus, photographed zigzagging rapidly roughly 15m below the waves off the south side of Alki Point, Seattle, Washington. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]
Image: Ron Shimek [larger view].
Olympus OM-10 in an Ikelite Housing, Kodachrome 64 film.
Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.
This poorly-known mystery bird species has two remarkable behaviors that are thought to reduce predation at the nest — what are they?
These small auks arrive at and depart from their nests at night, presumably to reduce predation. They also never feed their young at the nest, instead, taking them to sea 1-3 days after hatching. After the newly hatched chicks run to the sea from their nest burrow, the parents and chicks are reunited after recognizing the sound of their voices before the entire family swims out to sea. Reunited, the little family spends at least 12 hours paddling away from the land and after they’re in the open sea, the parents feed their chicks for more than one month.