The Dovekie is a tiny ocean bird, in the same family as our charismatic Atlantic Puffin. About the size of a pigeon, this black and white bird spends its entire life on the open ocean, only coming to shore to nest.
Because of their deep sea habitat, Ingrid and I only see a few Dovekies a year . . . in October I saw two on pelagic trip 60 miles out at sea. Ingrid got her 2023 Dovekie tic in November after a storm blew birds close to shore.
On Monday, New England was hit by a powerful rainstorm with winds gusts of 60+ miles an hour coming in from the ocean. By mid afternoon, over 50% of Maine households were without power and trees were down blocking roads throughout the state.
The storms swept up a number of Dovekies and blew them inland and this morning the Maine Birding community began to report these tiny birds in fresh water ponds, lakes and streams.
Many of these birds were too exhausted to fly back to the Atlantic. Other Dovekies found themselves in tiny bodies of water that made it unable for them to even take off. They run across the water until they have the speed to fly and a small stream doesn’t give them the room to launch. They can’t take off from land.
The Maine birder message boards were filled today with sightings of Dovekies in unheard of locations . . . along with appeals for help getting exhausted and injured birds to rehabbers.
It was an amazing but somewhat tragic day for this cute little bird.