Whale Birds – A Note from Ann Novek
Whale birds are a group of birds called this because,
1) They used to follow whaling ships and feed on the blubber and floating oil. (Any of several species of large Antarctic petrels).
2) Prions are a small group of Petrels which once were known as whale birds, because they feed on the same plankton baleen whale feed and were thus likely to be good indicators where the whales may be.
3) The Sooty tern (see photo) is as well called a whale bird.
Photo courtesy BirdLife International/Simon Stirrup
“ We frequently observe humpback whales and birds feeding on the same patches , so it’s not surprising that occasionally birds might be engulfed by feeding humpback whales “.
“We observed three partially digested birds coated with whale feces floating in the water near adult whales”.