I hope that you will enjoy Martijn Verdoes' stitched image, below, of Cook's Petrels from Shearwater Journeys' July 31, 2010 pelagic trip off Half Moon Bay. This was a very exciting moment! In total, we saw four individual Cook's Petrels— two in San Mateo County and two in San Francisco County. Great news for those county birders who were on board! County Birding is a growing sport in California.
We have heard from the Cook's Petrel experts in New Zealand. They say that the petrels we are observing breed on Little Barrier Island, rather than Codfish Island. Sandy Bartle and Matt Rayner report that the population of 300,000 + petrels has improved from 10% to 70% in recent years due to the removal of mammalian predators on the breeding island! The New Zealanders predict that we will be finding more and more Cook's Petrels in coming years!
BirdLife International lists Cook's Petrels as Vulnerable because of rapid declines in the past. Let's hope that there is cause for celebration in the future for this species!
Rock on, Cook's Petrels,