Farallon Landbird Research
The Farallon Islands are well known for the spectacular number of wayward birds that show up seemingly every year that are unusual to California and occasionally unusual to North America. However, the majority of fall migrants that arrive are common West Coast birds that have been blown slightly off course and these are the focus of our studies. Since 1967, Point Blue Conservation Science has conducted annual surveys of fall migrants.
While detailed studies from local areas can provide precise demographic data for the studied population, it tends to be limited in scope and difficult to extrapolate to other areas. Long-term migration data can provide trend information relevant to a broader region. Our goal is to understand fall migrant stopover ecology, migratory timing, and population trends.
Extremely high densities of introduced house mice, which arrived on the island in the 19th century, facilitate Burrowing Owls to overwinter on the island and predate heavily on Ashy Storm petrels, a seabird species of conservation concern. Until recently, not much was known about the number of owls that visit the island, annual site fidelity, or stopover ecology. However, little is known about the number of owls that visit the island, annual site fidelity, or stopover ecology. Since 2007, Point Blue has been closely monitoring the Burrowing Owls on the island intensively in order to understand these aspects. This will allow us to better inform the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service so they can manage this owl population more effectively and prevent the continued decline of Ashy Storm-Petrels.