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Friday, December 14, 2012

Florida Razorbill Invasion Is Happening!

Razorbill, 1st winter plumage

Razorbill, 1st winter plumage

Razorbill, summer plumage



There is an invasion of Razorbills into Florida with birds being seen from many locations. Yesterday 150-200 were seen off Boynton Inlet/Beach heading south. As of early December, there were maybe fewer than 10 state records for the Razorbill in Florida, so suddenly having lots of Razorbills showing up is very astounding. Razorbills are a large auk usually found in the north Atlantic Ocean, and they winter usually to New England and down to NC, rarely as far south as GA. Razorbills forage on small fish and sometimes crustaceans, feeding in waters less than 200 ft. deep. They catch fish while swimming underwater, at 5-20 ft. below surface. Their populations are thought to be declining. Why are they coming down into FL in numbers? Is it lack of food for some reason in their usual wintering locations? Some of the birds being seen in FL have seemed weak and one was washed up on the shore and taken to a marine hospital where it did not survive.

 Reports keep coming in.

Here is a link to a google map where the Florida sightings are being posted, click here

Report your sightings to your state listserves and also to ebird.

Above photos are of summer plumage Razorbills. In winter they have white on throat that extends behind eye, little or no white on lore.

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