storm petrel

noun
variants: or less commonly storm-petrel \ ˈstȯrm-​ˈpe-​trəl How to pronounce storm-petrel (audio) , -​ˈpē-​trəl \

Definition of storm petrel

: any of various widespread small dark petrels (family Hydrobatidae) that typically return to land only to nest usually in burrows

called also Mother Carey's chicken

Illustration of storm petrel

Illustration of storm petrel

Examples of storm petrel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The couple’s boat was coming around Cape Blanco off the southern Oregon coast at about 1:30 in the morning when a storm petrel, a small seabird, crashed into the back of Laidlaw’s head and fell into the cockpit. oregonlive, "Oregon wildfires can stress, damage health of wild animals that survive, upend bird migrations," 18 Sep. 2020 This is highly unusual behavior for a storm petrel: the birds live in the open ocean and only come ashore to nest. oregonlive, "Oregon wildfires can stress, damage health of wild animals that survive, upend bird migrations," 18 Sep. 2020 In the winter, when the mouse population crashes, the owls turn to the storm petrels, which are just then arriving on the islands in large numbers. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Exterminating mice with poison would protect rare seabirds on Farallones, study says," 7 Oct. 2019 The Farallones are home to half of the world’s population of 8,000 or so Ashy storm petrels, which are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and a species of special concern in California. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Exterminating mice with poison would protect rare seabirds on Farallones, study says," 7 Oct. 2019 But when the mouse population crashes in the winter, the owls prey on the ashy storm-petrel, whose population on the islands — where half the world’s storm petrels nest — has been declining since the ’90s. Laura Newberry, latimes.com, "The U.S. wants to dump 1.5 tons of rat poison on the Farallon Islands. Biologists say it’s for the best," 7 July 2019 Half of the 8,000 Ashy storm petrels in the world feed and nest on the Farallon Islands. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Coastal Commission to consider poisoning mice to restore balance on Farallon Islands," 10 July 2019 About half of the world’s population of the rare ashy storm petrel use the islands. Will Houston, The Mercury News, "‘Like dropping a nuclear bomb on this island’: Feds delay Farallon Islands poison airdrop bid," 11 July 2019 The owls then begin eating the Ashy storm petrel, a small gray seabird that is listed as a species of special concern in California. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Coastal Commission to consider poisoning mice to restore balance on Farallon Islands," 10 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'storm petrel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of storm petrel

circa 1833, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for storm petrel

Time Traveler

The first known use of storm petrel was circa 1833

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Statistics for storm petrel

Last Updated

5 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Storm petrel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/storm%20petrel. Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on storm petrel

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about storm petrel

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