Coastal Bird-Watching 101

Batten down the hatches! It’s time to bird-watch. Whether you are new to bird watching or a seasoned pro, coastal bird species are fun to spot and fascinating to watch. Have you ever seen an interesting bird while out on the water and wondered what it was? Yachts4Fun has you covered. We will have an ongoing blog series dedicated to your education about seafaring birds. Today, we will highlight the ocean’s largest and smallest species of birds.


Albatross are impressive in their wingspan and size. Some have wingspans of 10′ or more! They are the largest seafaring pelagic birds in the world. Did you know that there are at least 8 types of albatrosses that have been spotted hovering over the oceans surrounding North America? Mariners believed that if their ship was followed by an albatross, it was an omen of good luck. However, if the albatross was killed by someone on deck, the vessel would be cursed. It’s hard to miss an albatross and if you see one along the pacific coast of North America it is most likely a: black-footed albatross, Layson albatross or a short-tailed albatross.


If the albatross is the largest seabird species, then what bird claims the title of smallest? A storm-petrel, of course! There are at least 14 types of storm-petrels that have been seen in the ocean waters surrounding North America. If you see a storm-petrel out on the water you may think it is walking on water! They hover and bound across the water’s surface when searching for food. These adorable birds are a bit of a mystery as they live their life at sea, only visiting land when breeding and raising their young. In fact, they are such a mystery that the New Zealand storm-petrel was thought to have gone extinct until it was rediscovered in 2003. We do know that storm-petrels form long-term monogamous bonds with their breeding partner.

Bird-watching and powerboating go hand-in-hand. We recommend keeping a pair of nice binoculars on deck. This way, you’ll never miss a fascinating glimpse at the many seafaring bird species that serve as an important part of the ocean’s ecosystem. Happy powerboating and keep a sharp lookout!