(also ‘stormy petrel’, ‘Mother Cary’s chicken’; for the right pronunciation of this word, please click here)
a kind of bird – sea bird – small with mostly dark on the upper side and pale on the underside; size: 5-10 inches long, and weight: 25-50 grams; feeds on (eats) zooplankton (= very small animal matter in the water), insects, shellfish, small fish, and other small water animals; lives for about 7-10 years; about 23 (?) species found in all the oceans and most of the seas of the world
Storm petrels are the smallest of all the sea birds!
They are the true sea birds in the sense that they spend almost all their time at sea.
Even during the breeding season, they go to their nests (mostly burrows in the high ground and holes in the rocks) after dark and leave the nest site before dawn!!
Like most sea birds, storm petrels have only one tube-like nostril (= a hole in the nose to take in air to breath) on the upper part of the beak.
Like most sea birds, storm petrels are also migratory.
Storm petrels seem to be walking on the water because they keep their feet forward touching the water while they hover close to the surface or move in short jumps on the surface of the water in search of food.
In fact, some animal experts say that the word ‘petrel’ may be from the name “Peter”, a reference to St. Peter, one of the disciples of Jesus Christ, who, according to the Bible, walked on water!
Another story behind the name ‘storm petrel’ is that the early sailors believed that these birds gave them warning of an approaching storm!
And the name ‘Mother Cary’s chicken’ came from “Mother Virgin Mary”!!
storm petrel (noun) = a person wildly involving in trouble or opposition