• WordNet 3.6
    • n petrel relatively small long-winged tube-nosed bird that flies far from land
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In order to scare away predators, Giant petrels, a type of seabird, throw up all over the intruder
    • n Petrel (Zoöl) Any one of numerous species of longwinged sea birds belonging to the family Procellaridæ. The small petrels, or Mother Carey's chickens, belong to Oceanites Oceanodroma Procellaria , and several allied genera.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n petrel A small black-and-white seabird, Procellaria pelagica; hence, any similar bird of pelagic or oceanic habits, with webbed feet, long pointed wings, and tubular nostrils, belonging to the family Procellariidæ and subfamily Procellariinæ. Many of the petrels are characterized by qualifying epithets, and others receive special names. The stormy petrels, also called Mother Carey's chickens, are the very small sooty species like Procellaria pelagica, though of several genera, including Procellaria (formerly called Thalassidroma), Cymochorea, Halocyptena, and Oceanites. The most numerous species to which the name is given are those of the genera Œstrelata, Daption, and some others, such as the capped petrel, Œstrelata hæsitata, and the Cape pigeon, Daption capense. These are of medium size, or rather small, and almost exclusively inhabit southern seas. Petrels of the large genus Puffinus are commonly known as shearwaters and hagdens. The large gull-like petrels of the genus Fulmarus and some related genera are called fulmars. All are pelagic, and practically independent of laud except during the breeding-season. They breed for the most part in burrows or holes in rocks by the seaside, laying a single white egg. Many of them are wont, like albatrosses, to follow ships for many days at sea, to feed upon the refuse of the cook's galley, and may sometimes be taken with hook and line. In powers of long-sustained flight they surpass all other birds, but, with the exception of one genus (Pelecanoides or Halodroma), they cannot dive. See also cuts under Daption, fulmar, hagden, and Œstrelata.
    • n petrel The kittiwake, a gull.
    • n petrel An obsolete form of poitrel.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Petrel pet′rel a long-winged dusky sea-bird, rarely landing except to lay its eggs, esp. the Stormy petrel, called by sailors 'Mother Carey's Chickens,' scarcely larger than a lark, the smallest web-footed bird known.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. pétrel,; a dim. of the name Peter, L. Petrus, Gr. a stone (John i. 42); -- probably so called in allusion to St. Peter's, walking on the sea. See Petrify
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.; from Matt. xiv. 29.


In literature:

A cursory glance was also given to the movements of the curious little rock hoppers and petrels.
"Fritz and Eric" by John Conroy Hutcheson
S. There are many albatrosses and stormy petrels about the ship.
"Journal of a Voyage to Brazil" by Maria Graham
Several stormy petrels, which the sailors call "Mother Carey's chickens," were also captured.
"The South Sea Whaler" by W.H.G. Kingston
Stormy petrels hovered over it and pecked its neck and cork.
"Shifting Winds" by R.M. Ballantyne
Once more the melancholy chronicler of the ill-fated Petrel resumed his lugubrious narrative.
"Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 11, No. 24, March, 1873" by Various
Another sea-bird, very different in appearance, is the little stormy petrel.
"The Children's Book of London" by Geraldine Edith Mitton
The petrel, or Mother Cary's chicken.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth
Tis well said, but rings not true,' the Petrel jeered.
"Girl Scouts in the Adirondacks" by Lillian Elizabeth Roy
Numerous whales and penguins were now seen swimming about the vessels, whilst white petrels continually flew across them.
"Celebrated Travels and Travellers" by Jules Verne
The stormy petrel skims the waves.
"Saronia" by Richard Short

In poetry:

Inky darkness wraps the sky;
Not a glimpse of moon or star;
And the stormy-petrels cry
Out along the harbor-bar.
"Fido" by Hanford Lennox Gordon
Let the stormy-petrels fly!
Let the moaning breakers beat!
Hark! I hear an infant cry
And the patter of baby-feet:
"Fido" by Hanford Lennox Gordon
"Watch in love by a fevered pillow,
Cooling the fever with pity's balm
Safe as the petrel on tossing billow,
Safe in mine own soul's golden calm!
"The Two Children Pt 1" by Emily Jane Bronte
The silver spoon of my extended eyes
Offers me a sea buoying a storm petrel;
And I see how the Russian bird flies
Through unknown lashes to the roaring sea.
"On This Day Of Sky-Blue Bears" by Velimir Khlebnikov
I did love thee, Lily Lee,
As the petrel loves the sea,
As the wild bee loves the thyme,
As the poet loves his rhyme,
As the blossom loves the dew --
But the angels loved thee, too!
"Lily Lee" by Alice Cary
I am thy storm-thrush of the days that darken,
Thy petrel in the foam that bears thy bark
To port through night and tempest; if thou hearken,
My voice is in thy heaven before the lark.
"Mater Triumphalis" by Algernon Charles Swinburne

In news:

In the past BirdLife has also provided lists of fishing techniques that reduce deaths among albatrosses and petrels, for fisheries unable to stay away from seabird populations.
Native petrel birds 'on the edge of extinction' due to nonnative pests.
As one report had it, they proceeded to "take, kill, roaste and eate" the petrels .
So we have rare visits to underground nesting sites on tiny rock outcroppings that are difficult for humans to explore, combined with only nighttime activities by the petrels .
Photos reveal the first sighting of the elusive seabird, the Fiji petrel.
In this May 2009 image, an elusive Fiji petrel flies over the waves near Fiji's remote island of Gau.
Sewanee teams rally past Petrels.
Rare Bird is about the Bermuda petrel ( Pterodroma cahow ) which nests in only one place on earth — the islands of Bermuda.
Lennart Petrell's goal late in the second period might have demoralized Heat.
Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels calendar and results.
Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels Basketball Tickets.