[Tweeters] Birds, Seals, and Adelalide

Don McVay dmcvay at cmc.net
Wed Jul 27 13:13:54 PDT 2005

Hi Tweeters,

Rhinos, Common Murres, and Marbled Murrelets have been showing up in 
large numbers in the Wasp Island group in the San Juans.  There are 
large schools of bait fish with bird feeding frenzies everywhere.  In 
addition, there are lots of Harbor Seals and we have watched their 
flipper smacking behavior at close range from our kayak and heard them 
all hours of the night.  This behavior is especially present near 
schools of fish and the birds seem to be feeding on the remains of what 
the seals eat.  We have formulated several hypotheses for this behavior 
and wonder if anyone knows of any research to support any of the 

1.  Communication between groups of seals?
2.  Territorial warnings between males and/or females?
3.  Stunning schooling bait fish?
4.  Play?
5.  All of the above or other combinations?

We are doing an Earthwatch research project on Kangaroo Island, 
Southern Australia in August.  Luckily we have a couple of days in 
Adelaide (August 10-11) before we head off to KI.  Does anyone have any 
birdo contacts in Adelaide or environs that would be willing to show a 
couple of Yanks a few SA bird specialties?  Thanks.

Don and Sandi McVay
Queen Anne
dmcvay at cmc.net

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