The Fabled Cahow:
Saving a Lazarus Species from Extinction
Speaker: Kate Sutherland, Seabirding Pelagics
Osprey ©Jeff Lemons
The Bermuda Petrel (Pterodroma cahow), locally known as the Cahow, was believed to be extirpated a short time after the islands were colonized, disappearing by the 1620s. As a boy, David Wingate found signs of these petrels around the island of Bermuda. There were also a few records of live and/or freshly dead individuals thought to belong to other species. In 1951 Robert Cushman Murphy went to Bermuda in search of the Cahow, pulling one from a burrow as a young Wingate looked on. A species that “returns from the dead” is dubbed a Lazarus species. The Cahow was presumed extinct for over 330 years before rediscovery. But what do you do when you finally find a species after all of that time that has just 7 pairs left? And all nesting on low-lying islets in one location in Bermuda? That’s what Kate Sutherland, who leads pelagic trips off the coast of NC for Seabirding, is going to tell us at our April meeting.
The Zoom link will be sent out on Wednesday, March 31st to members. Not a member? The meeting will be live streamed on our Facebook page or you can contact Judy Walker to receive the Zoom link. Information about our virtual meetings can also be found at the end of our newsletter. Previously recorded meetings.