Blog Archive: Auks

Birdorable Horned Puffin

2017 Bonanza Bird #9: Horned Puffin

December 2nd, 2017 in Auks, Birdorable Bonanza 2017 No comments

Today a seabird with bold colors joins Birdorable: the Horned Puffin!

The Horned Puffin is a seabird in the auk family. They are pelagic, breeding on rocky islands but spending the rest of the year at sea. They are found in ocean waters around Alaska, British Columbia, and Siberia.

Horned Puffins are named for a small pointed fleshy "horn" that adults have over each eye. Their striking beaks actually increase in size and color intensity during courtship and breeding, developing vertical grooves.

Like many seabirds, Horned Puffins have a mostly black and white plumage. They are black above and white below. This is a camouflage strategy, helping to protect them from predators both from the air above them and the sea below.

Tomorrow an endangered bird found only in Peru will be revealed as part of our 2017 Birdorable Bonanza. It was once thought to be extinct but was rediscovered in the late 1970s. Do you know this bird?

Birdorable Razorbill

Razorbills out of range

January 2nd, 2013 in Auks 3 comments

Florida birders have been treated to a rare sight this winter. Hundreds of Razorbills have been seen off both coasts of the state; the birds have been seen as far west as Pensacola along the Gulf of Mexico! The normal winter range for the Razorbill, which is a type of auk, extends down to the coast of North Carolina.

Razorbills breed along rocky habitat on coastal northeastern North America.

blog Razorbill

The big question is: why have the Razorbills moved so far out of their normal range? Several reasons have been speculated. Superstorm Sandy may have affected the usual food supply of Razorbills. Access to food, abundance of certain types of fish, and even water visibility may all play a factor. Razorbills may have had a banner breeding year, which means there are more young Razorbills competing for food and space. These factors and others may all have driven Razorbills further south than they normally venture, or other things not yet considered may play a part in this season's unprecedented Razorbill invasion. If you love Razorbills, you'll love our updated Birdorable Razorbill cartoon. Find swimming or flying Razorbill merchandise here: customizable Razorbill gifts.

Birdorable Crested Auklet

The Crested Auklet's Fresh Citrus Scent

August 11th, 2011 in Auks 1 comment

Crested Auklets are small seabirds that live in the Bering Sea. They are in the same family as other cute birds like Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, and the extinct Great Auk. During the breeding season, which begins in mid-May, Crested Auklets of both sexes are in their beautiful and striking breeding plumage. This includes an unusual crest of bristles at the forehead, white eyeline contrasting with black body plumage, and a bright orange bill. Perhaps the most unusual component of the Crested Auklet's finery includes a strong but not-unpleasant odor, which is said to smell like tangerines, or another citrus-like odor. The function of this odor is not known to science, but it may have something to do with attracting a mate. While we don't currently offer scratch-and-sniff gifts, our selection of Crested Auklet apparel and novelties are great for anyone who loves these unusual, striking and fresh-scented birds!

Birdorable Great Auk

AOU student quiz bowl

August 28th, 2009 in Donation, Auks No comments

Earlier this month the American Ornithologists' Union had their annual meeting in Philadelphia. During the event, the 4th annual student quiz bowl took place, and Birdorable was proud to donate three of our Great Auk tote bags to be used as prizes. The Great Auk is part of the logo of the AOU and their quarterly journal is The Auk. According to AOU Student Affairs Committee member Nicholas Block, "The quiz bowl went really well overall! We had hundreds of people in attendance, and a great time was had by all. The team of students from Auburn University, named A Flock of Steven Seagals, won the title." Here are two of the winning team members showing off their Birdorable Great Auk totes.

Birdorable Great Auk tote bags

Thanks for the update, Nick! It sounds like the quiz bowl was a lot of fun!

Birdorable Razorbill

All You Need is Razorbills

January 19th, 2009 in New Birds, Auks 3 comments

Razorbills typically live for 13 years, but one particular Razorbill that was ringed in 1967 was still spotted in the United Kingdom last year, over 41 years later! The same bird has been returning to the same cliff since hippies were wearing flowers in their hair and the Beatles were singing "All You Need Is Love". The old Razorbill was reported by the British Trust for Ornithology last year, along with 11 other record-breaking long-living birds, including a 31-year-old Curlew and a Black-headed Gull that has been flying around parks in Central London for 27 years.

Razorbill
Razorbill on the Farne Islands, UK, by ankehuber

The Razorbill is a beautiful striking bird. It is the 159th Birdorable bird and the answer to this week's spot the Birdorable. Unfortunately we have never seen a Razorbill. Have you?