I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Winter Birds

So little and Lost---the Dovekie!
Brrrr! An unusually cold and very windy January so far here at the beach!

I've been reading online about the tiny Arctic Auks called "dovekies" that were blown ashore on Cape Cod by the high winds of the Christmas blizzard. Apparently people were calling the Wildlife Center and saying they saw tiny penguin-like birds in their yards! How fascinating! I'd never heard of a dovekie, let alone seen one...

MA Audubon photo

Apparently they choose to live their entire lives off-shore in the Arctic ocean (why!?!), only coming ashore to breed in the far north. It seems they cannot really walk any distance---picture sparrow-sized penguins---and cannot take flight from land, only from the water. Thus, they need to be rescued, watered, fed, then sent on their way, in the open ocean.

Since I had never seen or heard of dovekies, I was looking for them last week when I finally go to the snowy beach.

 And much to my amazement, I found one! Sadly, it was a washed-ashore, dead dovekie.

A sad but interesting find on my winter beach....



gone to the beach.....


  1. Thanks for sharing about the Dovekies, such a sad little story.

  2. What a wonderful blog... I'm sorry to read about the dovekies.

    xoxo Gert

  3. Wow, I have never heard of them either. Nice story with a sad ending. Kit

  4. Your story was a twister. I was so happy to see the Dovekie picture then it went sad. How you must have had those mixed emotions upon finding the dead one. Thanks for sharing this. I had never heard of them either. A lesson learned.

  5. I live on Block Island, Rhode Island and my cat caught a Dovekie and brought it home... It too wasn't alive and I will spare you from the rest of the story. I managed to find out from its remains what kind of bird it was and so here I am! How did this little bird get so far south? Can a storm really blow them this far off course or did it just get adventurous? :)

    1. Hi! I m sorry the dovekie was dead. They are like tiny penquins, really cute. It's hard to picture that strong storm winds could blow them all the way down to you on Block Island or to me on a little sandbar off Long Island, but that is what they experts say. I looked for the dovekie that winter after reading about sightings on Cape Cod, in the Cape Cod Times birding column, I think the writer is Vernon Laux? I am on a similarflfight path as the Cape, as you are too. Here is a link, or you can google CC Times online edition.


      Let me know if you see any more dovekies?

  6. I actually just rescued one from crows off of the Plum Island basin up in NE MA yesterday and the little fella is recovering, waddling around and eating shrimp. Now will have to figure out how best to release him back into the wild.....currently a big snowstorm here

    1. How wonderful that you were able to rescue your little guy alive! You might try calling or emailing a nearby wildlife center for advice on how to successfully release it.


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