Pelagic Species in Georgia waters

Index to

The series of tables below have been compiled to give a broad view of pelagic bird species at sea, from about 8 miles offshore east to the Gulf Stream occurring in the central portion of South Atlantic Bight from Savannah, Georgia south to the area of New Smyrna Beach, Florida.  For the record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recognizes the South Atlantic Bight as the gradual bend in the coast line of the southeastern United States from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina through West Palm Beach, Florida. 

It is worth noting here that the long-term goal of these pages to to present a record of the distribution and relative abundance of pelagic birds for the entire region, an area encompassing tropical through temperate waters.  Before going further let me also acknowledge that Brain Pattison has already done the superb job of documenting this information off the coast of North Carolina, and although his data is not represented here, you may access it at                                .

 is the species list below  provides a reasonable picture of what is out there and when.  It is obvious that the small numbers of birds recorded for a particular month is at least in part due to the lack of trips that have been run in that particular month. The other side of the coin is that some months are predictably better than others.  It is also probably not coincidental that the months in which the most trips have been run have, over time, yielded the largest number of species, if not the greatest abundance. 

We all know how tough it is to make a correct call at sea, even for experienced people, so these other observations should be treated as good efforts, and not definitively.  It is folly for anyone to try to keep up with absolute numbers as we get more hours out there, so with guidance from the Annotated Checklist of Georgia Birds, and our learning curve, I will convert these totals to seasonal bar charts. 

Georgia pelagic species count is current as of:  2 December 2006

Species Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Northern Fulmar   1                    
Black-capped Petrel   6     1 2   6        
Cory's Shearwater       1 13 330 1039 800 44 450 188  
Greater Shearwater   1     14 89 200 56   7 8 1
Sooty Shearwater         2 1            
Manx Shearwater 3 11           1   3 1 2
Audubon's Shearwater         3 16 12 210 9 8 160 84
Wilson's Storm-Petrel         25 97 12 16 5      
Leach's Storm-Petrel         3 6            
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel           8 1   1      
Magnificent Frigatebird           1   2        
Red-billed Tropicbird           1            
White-tailed Tropicbird         1 1   3        
Masked Booby 1       1 1   3 2      
Brown Booby         1     4       1
Northern Gannet Com Com Com Com Unc         6 105 Com
Red-necked Phalarope 60 250   5       66 11 4 34 26
Red Phalarope 40 1815 2 1 52     2     999 219
Pomarine Jaeger   2 1         2 1 6 7 1
Parasitic Jaeger   9 2         1 1 1 5  
Long-tailed Jaeger