Seabird Circumnavigation Survey

Courtesy photo Great Blue Heron rookery (where multiple herons breed together) observed during the daytime seabird survey.

In Weekend at Sea Conservancy Counts Thousands of Birds

For the first time in 30 years the Catalina Island Conservancy performed a daytime seabird survey circumnavigating the entire island. On May 20th and 21st with help from expert ornithologist Peter Larramendy, the Conservancy’s wildlife biologists along with ACE interns, Amanda Jo Temple and Krysten Marten, counted over 2,500 birds composing 23 species. Some of the unique species observed were the pelagic cormorant, wandering tattler and surf scoter. The data they collected on species, such as the California Brown Pelican, will be shared with the Audubon society and be added to a national database to help monitor this species across its range. In addition, the 63 nests observed help biologists determine when breeding occurs.

Senior Wildlife Biologist, Emily Hamblen, describes the importance of the surveys; “This data is crucial to understanding population demographics and the status of the seabird populations on Catalina.

If we don’t monitor the populations, we can’t tell which species need help.” Additionally, the crew counted sea mammals and other marine life, including 175 California sea lions, 51 harbor seals, a mola mola, a flying fish, and a sea turtle!