Pelagic birds, a real challenge!

-Written by Jessé Roy-Drainville

Birds are an integral part of the marine world. They have been known for centuries by mariners to indicate the presence of land nearby or the approach of a storm. But do they know how to recognize them? Pelagic birds, which are relative to the open sea, are a world apart from continental birds. The adaptations that allow them to drink, eat and fly are really fascinating. In the open sea, an observation may last only a few seconds, rarely allowing time to get the camera. Also, identifying a bird in the middle of the Indian Ocean, thousands of miles away from home, is complex. Identifying the species can be difficult, but depending on the region and by elimination, it is often less complicated than it seems. Although pelagic birds come in a multitude of shapes, sizes, colours and behaviours, they have several obvious and unique characteristics that, when added together, make it really easy to identify the family to which they belong.