Audubon's Shearwater,  Puffinus lherminieri

Number of accepted Audubon's Shearwater records for Louisiana = 21 as of June 2017

Accepted Records


Photo by Donna L. Dittmann

One male (1954-08) on 26 August 1954, Gulf of Mexico: 94 mi. E Southeast Pass Mississippi River, 28o 54’ N, 88o 00’ W; Stewart Springer (LSUMZ 20345).

Three (1961-02) on 15 September 1961, Cameron: 1 mi. E Holly Beach; found dead on beach following Hurricane Carla by Laurence C. Binford (LSUMZ 25129, male/skin, D. G. Berrett; LSUMZ 27853 photo below; male, skeleton, K. A. Arnold; LSUMZ 27856 female, skeleton, K. A. Arnold).

One male (1961-09) on 16 September 1961, Cameron: 1 mi. E Holly Beach; found dead on beach following Hurricane Carla by Laurence C. Binford (LSUMZ 27854 male, skeleton, K. A. Arnold).

One female (1961-06) on 16 September 1961, Cameron: Johnsons Bayou; found dead on beach following Hurricane Carla by Laurence C. Binford (LSUMZ 27855 female, skeleton, K. A. Arnold).

One female (1961-07) on 16 September 1961, Cameron: Holly Beach; found dead on beach following Hurricane Carla by Laurence C. Binford (LSUMZ 27857 female, skeleton, photo on p. 12). Specimen without label.

One sex unknown (1961-08) on 16 September 1961, Cameron: 2 mi. W Holly Beach; found dead on beach following Hurricane Carla by Laurence C. Binford (LSUMZ 27858 sex unknown, skeleton, K. A. Arnold; photo on p. 12). Previous six (eight specimens) records included in Lowery (1974) were among 13 specimens preserved of 17 of this species apparently picked up following Hurricane Carla.

One sex unknown (1962-09) on 28 April 1962, Cameron: 2 mi. SE Cameron (LSUMZ 27860; skeleton, specimen without label).

One male (1970-09) on 9 July 1970, Gulf of Mexico: 40 mi. S South Pass on course of 140o; Robert J. Newman (LSUMZ 69133, photo above; Lowery 1974).

One female (1981-13) on 25 Jul 1981, Orleans: New Orleans, Magazine and Calhoun streets (LSUMZ 103405, Tristan J. Davis*).

One (1997-29) on 13 Sep 1997, Gulf of Mexico: approx. 48 mi. S of South Pass Mississippi River; Daniel F. Lane (sketch), John P. Sevenair (ph), and Phillip Wallace (ph only); FN 52(1): 72 (locality indicated as “50 mi. off South Pass”).

One immature female (2004-14) on 5 May 2004, Gulf of Mexico: 18 mi. S of mouth South Pass of Mississippi River, 28o45'41.7"N, 89o08'43.1"W; Steven W. Cardiff (LSUMZ 177116) and Donna L. Dittmann (*); NAB58(3):384.

One adult male (2004-15) on 20 May 2004, Gulf of Mexico: 28.5 mi. SE of mouth South Pass of Mississippi River, 28o40'00.2"N, 88o50'48.3"W; Steven W. Cardiff (LSUMZ 177117) and Donna L. Dittmann (*); NAB58(3):384.

One immature female (2004-16) on 6 Jun 2004, Gulf of Mexico: 41.3 mi. SE of mouth South Pass of Mississippi River, 28o39'46.8"N, 88o35'08.8"W; Steven W. Cardiff (LSUMZ 177118) and Donna L. Dittmann (*); NAB58(4):543.

One immature male (2006-20) on 31 Jul 2006, Gulf of Mexico: 50.4 mi. SE of mouth South Pass of Mississippi River, 28o23'29.5²N, 88o41'19.7²W; Steven W. Cardiff (LSUMZ 179755) and Donna L. Dittmann (*); NAB60(4):538.

One adult female (2006-21) on 31 Jul 2006, Gulf of Mexico: approximately 49 mi. ESE of mouth South Pass of Mississippi River, 28o24'24.3²N, 88o40'18.5²W; Steven W. Cardiff (LSUMZ 179754) and Donna L. Dittmann (*); NAB60(4):538.

One adult female (2006-22) on 31 Jul 2006, Gulf of Mexico: 47 mi. SE of mouth South Pass of Mississippi River, 28o41'24.0²N, 88o38'05.2²W; Steven W. Cardiff (LSUMZ 179757) and Donna L. Dittmann (*); NAB60(4):538.

One adult male (2006-59) on 3 Oct 2006, Gulf of Mexico: about 33 mi. S of mouth South Pass of Mississippi River, 28o29'29.2²N, 89o09'15.4²W; Steven W. Cardiff (LSUMZ 179758) and D. L. Dittmann (*); NAB61(1):85.

Two (2011-046) on 24 July 2011, Gulf of Mexico: ca 60 mi. S of Venice; Justin Bosler (ph), Jeffrey W. Harris (ph), Nancy L. Newfield, and Dave Patton (ph only).

Photo by Dave Patton

One (2011-047) on 25 September 2011, Gulf of Mexico: Mississippi Canyon; Justin Bosler (ph), John Sevenair (ph), Erik I. Johnson (ph), Robert D. Purrington (ph only), and Dave Patton (ph only).

Photo by Erik Johnson

One (2015-071) on 6 September 2015, Gulf of Mexico: ca 20.5 mi. SE Southwest Pass Mississippi River, N28.670000° W89.217500°; David P. Muth (ph) and J. V. Remsen (ph).

Photo by Van Remsen

One (2015-049) on 21 September 2015, Gulf of Mexico: ca 49 mi. SE Southwest Pass Mississippi River. N28.393889o, W88.876944o; Dan O’Malley (ph) .

Photo by Dan O’Malley

Unaccepted Records

Six (1981-15; formerly 83-10) at Holly Beach, Cameron Parish, 22 February 1981.

Around nine (1995-102) on 16 September 1995, Gulf of Mexico: 55-67 mi. S Venice. This observation occurred on a LOS pelagic trip and many observers including LBRC Members were onboard, and photos were supposedly obtained. However, photos were never submitted and only one observer submitted a written report, which did not provide adequate details to support the identification. There is a card (3 X 5 file) that indicates “20 individuals seen from 45-65 mi. S of Southwest Pass” but provides no additional details! The record can be re-reviewed if new information eventually surfaces.

One (1996-18) on 4 May 1996, Gulf of Mexico: approximately 20 mi. SSW of mouth of Southwest Pass (28o40'N, 89o32’W) on LOS-sponsored pelagic trip. NASFN50(3):291 reported these as "small shearwaters." This record received a final vote of 2-5 on the second circulation. Members voting not to accept cited possible confusion with Manx Shearwater, noting that Audubon's was no longer the "default" species in the Gulf.

One (1998-68) on 22 Aug 1998, Gulf of Mexico: 61 mi. S of East Timbalier Island, Ewing Banks 826 oil platform, 28o09'48"N, 90o21'31"W. All but one member believed that the distance involved (>1 mi.) would not allow adequate study (even with a 60x scope) to clearly separate this species from Manx Shearwater.

At least two, probably three to four (1998-73), on 23 Aug 1998, Gulf of Mexico: 138 mi. S of Cameron, Garden Banks 189A oil platform, 27o46'43²N, 93o18'34²W. All but one member believed that these birds (closest observation at ¾ mi. with 30X scope) were too far away to clearly distinguish Audubon’s from Manx shearwaters.

One (1998-69) on 27 Aug 1998, Gulf of Mexico: 61 mi. S of East Timbalier Island, Ewing Banks 826 oil platform, 28o09'48"N, 90o21'31"W. All but two members believed that the description of the bird did not provide enough information to eliminate Manx Shearwater.

One (2000-16) on 20 Jan 2000, Gulf of Mexico: 122 mi. S of Morgan City, Green Canyon 18A oil platform, 27o56'37²N, 91o01'45²W; FN52(2):187. The observer’s description did not adequately separate this species from Manx Shearwater; there are no well-documented winter records of Audubon’s Shearwater.

One (1999-044) on 20 March 1999, Gulf of Mexico: Garden Banks 189 oil platform, 138 mi. S of Cameron, N 27.7786o, W 93.3095o.

One (1999-166) on 21 March 1999, Gulf of Mexico: Garden Banks 189 oil platform, 138 mi. S of Cameron, N 27.7786o, W 93.3095o.

One (1999-167) on 28 March 1999, Gulf of Mexico: Garden Banks 189 oil platform, 138 mi. S of Cameron, N 27.7786o, W 93.3095o.

Descriptions for the three records immediately above (1999-044,-166, and -167 were originally submitted as one record) were too superficial to support identification as Audubon’s or eliminate Manx Shearwater. Audubon’s should not be treated as the “default” small black and white shearwater, especially because there are no confirmed records of Audubon’s from March.

Three (1999-093) on 4 September 1999, Gulf of Mexico: 61 mi. S East Timbalier Island, Ewing Bank 826 oil platform, N 28.163333o, W 90.358611o (ca 90 mi. SW Venice). Members were in general agreement that these birds were almost certainly small shearwaters, and the date is well within the established period of occurrence for Audubon’s in Louisiana’s offshore waters. However, the birds were distant when observed, and four Members were ultimately not convinced by the circumstances/description that other small black-and-white shearwater species (especially Manx Shearwater) were decisively eliminated, and those Members were not willing to accept based on just the probability that Audubon’s is the “default” small shearwater in the Gulf of Mexico during the warm seasons.

One (2011-118) on 5 September 2011, Jefferson: Lake Pontchartrain. The consensus among Members was that the circumstances of the observation (brief, and from a moving vehicle) would not have allowed adequate study to be certain of the identification.