Forever Young Information

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BOB'S BLOG Followup on visit by Brown Booby

By Bob Wood
March 14, 2014 - 13 comments

Last fall I blogged on the appearance of a little-seen brown booby on Lake Erie. (See Birders following fate of rare Brown Booby)

The bird was rare in that none had ever been seen in this part of the world.  Ever.

They are, in fact, quite common in other places. 

A recent e-mail from Jeff Skevington, Research Scientist at the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes to Ontario birders brought news that the Lake Erie bird I wrote about last year was from the leucogaster sub species.  That means it is from the Caribbean.

The bird disappeared in mid-November and almost certainly perished but birding enthusiasts scooped some of its poop and sent it to Skevington.

DNA was gathered from the poop and the data showed that it was indeed the Leucogaster sub species. 

This analysis is pretty complicated stuff. Skevington credits the work of James Andrew Morris-Pocock for helping to sort it out.   (You can find his thesis HERE.) 

There are three other sub species of Brown Boobies all found in tropical oceans.

Sula leucogaster brewsteri in the north-east tropical Pacific

Sula leucogaster plotus occurs in the central Pacific, Red Sea and west Indian Ocean

Sula leucogaster etesiaca inhabits the central-eastern Pacific.  (Source)

In light of blizzard like conditions facing many of us in southern Ontario, today I thought it might be cathartic to imagine any of these brown booby locales (below: Brown Booby in Hawaii, from wikipedia).


Bob Wood is a housing and poverty advocate and former two-term Burlington City Councillor who has built a bed-and-breakfast with his wife on Lake Erie. 


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