Leach’s Petrels are small, dark seabirds that can be found across the whole north atlantic ocean, the west and east pacific ocean. They nest in colonies on islands in hidden places like burrows or rock shelters. Petrel’s mate for life and always return to the same nesting site every year. This species of bird can reach an age up to 30 years and lay only one egg per year.

Because of their small size the are at risk to be caught by carnivorous gulls or other birds of prey. That’s why Leach’s Petrel only return to their nests during darkness, for inhabitants of Honøya this means during the winter season. While all other birds are off to warmer regions when winter is coming, the dark knights of the Arctic nest on the empty bird cliff.

To communicate with their mates in darkness, they use unearthly giggling noises, unlike any other bird. Like many other seabirds, they spend most of their life out on sea and only come to shore to breed. So after breeding on Hornøya during the winter season, they return out on sea again and make the bird cliff free for the other birds to return again. September is a good time to visit the cliff to experience these enigmatic birds. It is a truly unique kind of birding experience. How about singing Leach´s Storm Petrels under the northern lights?!

The bird hide on Hornøya is a great place to sit and listen for the petrels. Photo from the Petrel ringing scheme, September 2016.

The bird hide on Hornøya is a great place to sit and listen for the petrels. Photo from the Petrel ringing scheme, September 2016.

Searching for Leach´s Storm Petrels on Hornøya bird cliff. September video blogg from Biotope © 2016