The close proximity of the warm Gulf Stream current, the cooler Labrador Current, and the edge of the continental shelf make the waters offshore of Cape Hatteras some of the best for seabirds in the western North Atlantic. Consequently, just 20 to 40 miles offshore, there is a crossroads in the ocean for birds that breed in the Arctic, the Antarctic, the tropics, and the eastern Atlantic.
Such close proximity makes it possible for boat trips departing from Oregon Inlet or Hatteras Inlet to see both large numbers and a good diversity of pelagic bird species over the course of a ten- to twelve-hour trip. Habitats: Open ocean over continental shelf and slope, Gulf Stream, Labrador Current. Key birds: Summer: Audubon’s Shearwater; Band-rumped Storm-Petrel; Bridled and Sooty Tern; Black-capped, Herald, Fea’s, and Bermuda Petrel; White-tailed Tropicbird; Masked Booby; South Polar Skua. Migration: Sooty and Manx Shearwater; Leach’s Storm-Petrel; Long-tailed Jaeger. Winter: Manx Shearwater.
© Edited by Marshall Brooks and Mark Johns/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.