I googled "little auk" too, and got what you found... but then I googled "great auk" and they look really different. I'm thinking Laura didn't even know there was a true "little auk" when she described her bird and that that wasn't it.
I don't know, I see a lot of birds that look radically different from their photographed counterparts. I'm still trying to figure out the very common bird that my dog hates. I thought it was a wren and now have figured out it wasn't. The closest is a thrasher but still looks totally different in the photo than the gazillions that fly all over here.
Back to the auk, there are many kinds of auks, including subspecies. The Great Auk has been considered extinct since 1844 (overhunted) though, it's possible some colonies escaped notice (this is true for a fish considered extinct off the coast of Africa). I don't think there is a miniature version of a "great auk". (I"m thinking of the beak shape in particular)
Roberta, this is an excellent resource!! Thanks so much for sharing. Some of the other books mentioned by Laura are here too -- I've added them to the "Laura's Books" page, located directly at liwrwl.googlepages.com/liwbooks.html or to view within Frontier Girl frames, go to www.liwfrontiergirl.com then click the Research Room tab.
No, Roberta, I meant that I just added them to the site yesterday because of your discovery of the link -- they weren't there before!! I just followed your link, and then thought if this is online, maybe some of the others are too, and found the rest...