• picture
  • picture
  • picture
  • picture
Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

BirdNote ® Crested Auklet

Air Date: Week of

stream/download this segment as an MP3 file

Crested Auklet, up close! (Photo: © Paul Jones)

Mary McCann reports about the Crested Auklet, which makes its home in the frigid Bering Sea between Alaska and Siberia.


CURWOOD: We stay up in the far north, in an equally cold part of the globe - for BirdNote today - but travel over to the other side of the North American continent. Here's Mary McCann.

MCCANN: The Bering Sea in winter is a realm to which most people – aside from some very hardy fishermen – give a wide berth. Winter in this northern sea framed by Alaska and Siberia is frigid, stormy, and dark. But remarkably, some birds seem right at home here. The Crested Auklet is one such bird.

(Photo: © Ryan P. O’Donnell)


MCCANN: A petite cousin of puffins, the Crested Auklet stands 10 inches high, weighs nine ounces, and is feathered in charcoal gray. This little seabird takes its name from a comical crest curling out over the top of its large, orange bill. If that’s not whimsical enough, Crested Auklets bark like Chihuahuas.

(Photo: © Paul Jones)


MCCANN: And to top that off, the seabirds exude an odor of oranges from a chemical they produce that repels bothersome ticks. Crested Auklets nest in immense colonies on Bering Sea islands, and remain nearby through winter, in flocks of many thousands.


MCCANN: Because the auklets concentrate in huge numbers, they’re at risk from oil spills. The auklets present a superb natural spectacle. Picture a flock of tens of thousands of Crested Auklets flying low across the wave tops, yipping like an army of Chihuahuas... while trailing a perfume of fresh citrus.


MCCANN: I’m Mary McCann

CURWOOD: For some photos of Crested Auklets fly on over to our website, loe dot org. Take a look - what a hairdo!

(Photo: © Paul Jones)

Written by Bob Sundstrom
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Calls of Crested Auklets [132013] recorded by S. Seneviratne.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org December 2012 Narrator: Mary McCann

Reference on orange odor/aldehyde: http://aba.org/birding/v37n4p424.pdf





Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

P.O. Box 990007
Prudential Station
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Telephone: 1-617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Newsletter [Click here]

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.

Creating positive outcomes for future generations.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.

Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth