As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Penguin-like bird hanging out at Lovers Point in Pacific Grove

MONTEREY, Calif. —
A bird was spotted at Lovers Point on Thursday that had some wondering if a penguin had waddled into Pacific Grove.

Sonya Chang snapped photos of the cute black and white sea bird while it was hanging out on the Lovers Point pier.

A California Department of Fish and Game officer and Monterey Peninsula bird experts confirmed that the bird is not a penguin. It's actually a common murre.

Common murres live beyond the Monterey Bay out on the open ocean. They are not commonly seen because they rarely come to shore, and only show up on land if they are breeding or injured.

KSBW called the Monterey County SPCA at 2 p.m. and asked their wildlife rescuers to check on the common murre at Lovers Point and make sure it was OK.

Monterey County SPCA spokeswoman Beth Brookhouser said rescuers determined that the young bird was dehydrated and tired, so they brought it back to the wildlife center for rehabilitation. 

Brookehouser said common murres are migrating along the Central Coast right now, and the bird was likely exhausted from trying to migrate during Wednesday and Thursday's stormy weather.

Anyone who spots a marine bird in distress along the shore should call the SPCA at 831-373-2631.

"It might be easy to mistake this bird for a penguin, with its white belly, dark head and wings, and upright posture. But common murres aren’t even related to penguins," the Monterey Bay Aquarium wrote on its website. "Common murres are seabirds that spend eight or nine months of each year continuously at sea. Those short wings are perfect for diving and 'flying' underwater."

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