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Sketch biologist Abby McBride once harbored aspirations of being a Victorian-era naturalist explorer. Adapting her career goals to the 21st century, she now travels globally to sketch wildlife and write multimedia stories about science and conservation.

As a Fulbright-National Geographic Fellow in New Zealand, home to the most diverse and endangered seabirds in the world, Abby is investigating the predicaments of penguins, prions, storm-petrels, shearwaters, shags, gulls, gannets, mollymawks, and more.

Abby is based on the Maine coast and has degrees in biology and science writing from Williams College and MIT. Follow @sketchbiologist on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Thrills, Spills, and Seabirds in the Subantarctic

This is Part Three of “Voyage of the Yellow-eyed Penguin.” See Part One and Part Two. Endangered (by) Sea Lions Alternate title: Mom, Don’t Read This One 11 November 2017 Chambres Inlet Imagine you’ve sailed 300 miles south of New Zealand to a subantarctic island. You’ve been dropped off by dinghy before sunrise in a secluded cove,…

Penguins Wanted

Voyage of the Yellow-eyed Penguin, Part Two (See Part One) The Search 8 November 2017 Port Ross and Enderby Island It was cold and clear and very dark when six hardy souls climbed over the ship’s rail and down into the little dinghy, surging up and down against Evohe’s hull. Hamish the helmsman yanked the engine into…

Voyage of the Yellow-eyed Penguin

The latest numbers say that yellow-eyed penguins are still heading toward extinction on mainland New Zealand. Their only other breeding habitat is a handful of islands hundreds of miles to the south. In this four-part story I join a surreal voyage to the all-but-inaccessible Auckland Islands, where we’re trying to find out how this gravely endangered penguin is faring in the…

A Krill’s-Eye Video of New Zealand Seabirds

Music video or science documentary? This is both! We took a GoPro-rigged buoy out into New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf, where multitudes of hungry seabirds were tracking swarms of fish and krill just below the surface of the sea. Featuring Darlingside‘s “The Ancestor” from the album Birds Say. Underwater footage courtesy of the Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust.…

How to Seabird in the Dark

I’m on a clifftop in the dark, on a remote island in New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf. An inky sea lies below, unfamiliar constellations glitter above, and a bird has just flown straight into my hand. Other pale squeaking shapes are brushing by me and bumping into me. A few minutes ago one smacked me in…