Storm Petrels, 1998



Storm Petrels (Hydrobates pelagicus) are small black seabirds that breed on islands along the coast of the United Kingdom and Ireland. At sea, Storm Petrels often feed in flocks and will follow ships to seek refuge and scavenge for food.

Mother Carey’s chickens

Storm Petrels also have a connection to 19th-century coastal folklore. Due to their ability to cope with the most severe weather conditions, they became known as harbingers of death. Legend goes that they would signal the imminent arrival of the dreaded sea witch, Mother Carey. Mother Carey personified the harsh and unforgiving nature of the sea, conjuring up devastating storms that would destroy any vessel unlucky enough to be caught in her sights. The ship’s crew would be sent to their deaths so that Carey and her partner, Davy Jones, could feast upon their rotting bodies.

Storm Petrels, 1998
2 June 1998
Sound recording
Alan Burbidge
© © Sound Recording: Storm Petrel, Wales by Dr Alan Burbidge © Dr Alan Burbidge, 1998 CC BY NC ND; Image: Wolfgang Kaehler / Contributor
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British Library
W1CDR0001878 BD6

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