Storm Petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) - The Bird That Breeds in the Winter
The Storm Petrel belongs to the same order as the Fulmar and is the smallest European seabird. The wingspan is 38-42 cm and the length is 15-16 cm. The tiny bird has very good visionary and olfactory senses. It is always at sea, except during breeding time. It has a fluttering flight, and “runs” on the water surface as it picks small fish, crustaceans and plankton from the ocean.
Throughout times the bird has often been spotted, in particular by sailors, after stormy weather. Therefore, it has been given the name "Storm.” In contrast, some claim that the Storm Petrel is so “laid back” that it sleeps, or takes short naps, in flight.
In 1988, the Storm Petrel was for the first time spotted at Gjesværstappan, and this is possibly the northernmost breeding spot. In order to protect itself against gulls and skuas it only enters and leaves its nest in the safety of the dark night.
At Gjesværstappan the Storm Petrel has to start breeding in August. It is only then it is dark enough at night. In August the few and monogamous pairs move into vacant holes left by the Puffins and lay one 7 grams egg each. The egg hatches after 40 days. The chicken is ready to leave the nest close to Christmas.
The Storm Petrel of Gjesværstappan migrates most likely to Portugal/South Africa.