1 December 2015 Ancient Murrelets Molt Flight Feathers After the Precocial Young Become Independent
Spencer G Sealy
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Knowledge of timing and pattern of wing molt is important for explanations of post-breeding movements and inland vagrancy in Ancient Murrelets (Synthliboramphus antiquus). Examination of specimens coupled with observations of family groups and recently independent young suggests that chick rearing and wing molt probably occur separately in adults, although it may commence before the last chicks of the season become independent. An adult Ancient Murrelet beached in September 1976 (Alaska Peninsula) and a probable second-year murrelet beached in July 1987 (Oregon) were synchronously molting remiges. Adults in family groups, collected in July 1920 (southeast Alaska) and July 1948 (British Columbia), and observed in July 2009 (British Columbia), were not molting remiges, although an adult observed with a family group on 18 July 1971 (British Columbia) may have commenced molt. Family groups immediately moved offshore from colonies on Langara Island, Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia, from late May through mid-June, 1970 and 1971. During boat surveys in that area from May to August, a family group was observed on 10 July 1971, and independent juveniles also began to appear inshore in early July, consistent with observations of recently independent young recorded off the Goose Islands, British Columbia, by CJ Guiguet in 1948.

Spencer G Sealy "Ancient Murrelets Molt Flight Feathers After the Precocial Young Become Independent," Northwestern Naturalist 96(3), 212-221, (1 December 2015). https://doi.org/10.1898/1051-1733-96.3.212
Received: 23 June 2014; Accepted: 27 May 2015; Published: 1 December 2015
Ancient Murrelet
British Columbia
family groups
Field observations
Haida Gwaii
museum specimens
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