Razorbills have flapped their way to Kennedy Space Center, where Audubon members spotted several during their annual Christmas Bird Count.
Melbourne, FL (Florida Today) -- They typically winter no farther south than New Jersey. Maybe
Hurricane Sandy steered them off course or disrupted their usual diet of
Biologists aren't sure
why these penguin-like birds, called razorbills, have flocked to the
Space Coast and beyond, way farther south than normal.
black birds with white underbellies have flapped their way to Kennedy
Space Center, where Audubon members spotted several during their annual
Christmas Bird Count.
"Everybody's talking about it," said
Ned Steel, who coordinated the Audubon count on Merritt Island, which
includes the security area of the space center.
year, there had been only 17 sightings of razorbills reported to
Florida's bird surveillance program. Those were typically one or just a
This winter, about 100 razorbills have been
spotted off Miami. They've also been seen from Naples to Pensacola on
Florida's Gulf Coast.
A few perished along the way. The
state's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg recently
received eight razorbill carcasses. The two juvenile birds examined so
far had no food in their stomachs, Quigley said.
"It basically looks like those particular ones could not handle the stress of the situation," she said.