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#168112 05/07/07 11:12 AM
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re stormy petrel (7 May 2007): strictly speaking, when the phrase refers to birds rather than (metaphorically) to humans, it should be "storm petrel". The Collins guide to European birds lists six storm-petrels, of which the commonest (the European storm-petrel) has the charming Latin name "hydrobates pelagicus", which means "oceanic water-walker".

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Your introduction to this week's theme mentioned many ways in which we malign various birds. I though I should mention one more "for the record," that being the albatross. I don't think the week would be complete without at least one reference to this magnificent bird, and maligned it has been indeed! (But perhaps you will have the albatross make an appearance later this week - I surely do hope so!) Thanks, Anu.

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If the Stormy (or Storm) Petrel is also known as "Mother Carey's Chicken", can someone please tell me who is, or was, "Mother Carey"?

mclean #168124 05/08/07 02:06 PM
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Because the birds apparently warned of storms the sailors called them Mother Carey's Chicken's. Mother Carey is a corruption of "Mater Cara" which is was a name for the Blessed Virgin Mary. So Mother Carey's Chickens meant the Virgin Mary's Chickens.

The Stormy Petrels do not go to land except to mate and nest, so at sea the birds hide in the lee of passing ships during storms. So if suddenly there were a bunch of storm petrels along side your boat, it was a hint that a storm was approaching.

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Very interesting indeed ! [:D]

K_D #168492 05/30/07 11:28 PM
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I wonder how many sailors blamed the birds for the storm instead of the other way around.
Hi Kishore, welcome.

Zed #168496 05/31/07 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted By: Zed
I wonder how many sailors blamed the birds for the storm instead of the other way around.
Hi Kishore, welcome.


Post hoc ergo propter hoc, eh?

Faldage #168497 05/31/07 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted By: Faldage
Originally Posted By: Zed
I wonder how many sailors blamed the birds for the storm instead of the other way around.
Hi Kishore, welcome.


Post hoc ergo propter hoc, eh?


Post hawk ergo propter hawk...


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Trying to get Q&A caught up, today. Welcome, new folks, and look what I found--this must be a really "holy" bird!
Old-time mariners called the bird Mother Carey's chicken, a derivation from mater cara, the Virgin Mary, a reference to its habit of walking on the water surface. The word petrel is derived from "Little Peter", a reference to St. Peter who was able to walk on water with Christ's help.
St. Peter

Bonus quiz: who knows (without looking it up) what pelagic means? (I just found out.)

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