storm petrel

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

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,, "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,, "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,, "Coastal Commission to consider poisoning mice to restore balance on Farallon Islands," 10 July 2019 The archipelago is home to the largest seabird breeding colony in the contiguous United States, with approximately 300,000 to 350,000 birds of 13 species, including the rare ashy storm petrels. Washington Post, "California asks US to end plan to drop rat poison on islands," 10 July 2019 The mice that have remained are food to migratory burrowing owls, which switch to preying on rare ashy-storm petrels when mice aren't available. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "The US wants to start dumping rat poison on these islands. It will help the birds, scientists say," 8 July 2019 Others, such as the Kermadec petrel and white-bellied storm petrel, found on surrounding islets, may return on their own—providing this summer's campaign can end the centurylong reign of the rats. John Pickrell, Science | AAAS, "Mass rodent poisoning on this remote Australian island could bring back giant stick insect," 5 June 2019 Forktail storm petrels, fulmars, shearwaters, kittiwakes, auklets and puffins also died. Dan Joling, The Seattle Times, "Pace of Bering Sea changes startles scientists," 16 Apr. 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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Last Updated

30 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for storm petrel

The first known use of storm petrel was circa 1833

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