It’s not ALL about the whales!

Each day as we pull away from our dock in Sidney we are obviously excited to spend time with our Southern Resident Orcas, Transient Orcas, and from time to time the Humpback whales that frequent our waters, but those animals are not the only things are we are lucky enough to see as we travel through the Salish Sea and the Southern Gulf Islands. Our trips are full of marine mammals, sea birds, and other amazing creatures. This post will focus on some of the beautiful sea birds that we encounter on our tours.

Sea Birds

We are so fortunate to have an abundance of sea birds just off of Sidney. Here are a few of what you might see when you head out on a trip with us.

Pigeon Guillemont A40Y1777 smg 2 Pigeon Guillemot with lunch (1)

You can find these birds from Alaska down to California. They belong to the Auk and Puffin family. They have black bodies and large white wings with patches. Their legs and feet are bright red. These birds feed on crustaceans, mollusks, and marine worms.


A40Y2169 sl smg OystercatcherOystercatcher

These large, stocky, black and white wading birds rarely stray too far from the coastline. They have long orange/red bills and reddish-pink legs. They make their nest on the shoreline. preferring the rocky terrain. These birds feed on clams, barnacles, and other sea creatures.


A40Y2238 sl smg Pelagic CormorantsPelagic Cormorants

This type is the smallest of the Pacific Cormorants. They are glossy black with a dark bill and a long, slender neck and a red throat patch. They are found near coastal areas on cliff faces or rocky islands. They feed mainly on fish, but are known to eat crab and other crustaceans. They have been known to dive up to 70 meters in search of their food!


A40Y2515 a sl smg a Rhinoceros AuckletRhinoceros Aucklet

This type of sea bird with a close relative of the puffin. It feeds on small fish and nests in burrows or natural caves between 1 and 5 meters deep. Their name comes from the horn-like extension of the beak, but the horn is only present in breeding adults. Their plumage is dark on the top and paler below. Breed adults have white plumes above the eyes and behind the bills.


A40Y5944 sl smg Common M urreCommon Mure

This bird is large and belongs to the Auk family. It has a black back and head and a white underside. It dives under water to catch it’s prey and feeds on fish, squid, and other marine invertebrates. The egg of the Common Mure is pointed at one end, so if it is pushed around on a flat surface it rolls in a circle. This could be to ensure that the eggs don’t fall out of the nest!


A40Y0945 sl s Eagle seaquestBald Eagle

This amazing bird is found to live along waterways and especially along the northwestern coast of Canada and the USA. They are a large eagle with blackish colour and a white head and tail and a yellow beak. They can weigh up to 14 lbs and have a wing span of up to 7 feet (2 meters). They have great eyesight that is seven times better than people. During flight they can reach speeds of over 120 km per hour. Their favourite food to eat is fish but will eat small mammals as well.

Thanks to Suzanne Huot for the fantastic photos of these amazing birds that we get to see on a daily basis!


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