The fall crew arrives (and so do the migrants!)

Mid-August is an exciting time of turnover on Southeast Farallon Island, with the summer season drawing to a close, and the fall season just starting to heat up. The arrival of the fall crew on Saturday coincided perfectly with a sudden influx of migrant songbirds. Highlight species thus far have included a vagrant Northern Waterthrush and more common western migrants such as Hermit Warblers, Yellow Warblers, Townsend’s Warblers, a Willow Flycatcher, and a Lark Sparrow.

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Netting For Fish

By Miles Scheuering   It is the peak of the chick-rearing period for rhinoceros auklets on Southeast Farallon Island, which means every night the adults return to their burrows with bill-loads of fish for their chicks. As part of a long-term monitoring study of their diet, we use mist nets to capture adults and collect

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The Secret Lives of Murres

By San Jose State University graduate student and former Point Blue intern Sean Gee.   Common murres are the most populous seabird species breeding on the Farallones, and one of the most abundant seabirds in the north Pacific. Point Blue Conservation Science has been collecting data on the population size, breeding biology, and chick diet

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Rare Sighting of an Ancient Murrelet Chick

  Every season on Southeast Farallon Island has its share of surprises. From the residency of a northern gannet in 2012, to the invasion of hundreds of fork-tailed storm-petrels in 2017. This year it’s a family group of ancient murrelets, a species of wing-propelled diving seabirds that breeds well north of the Farallones. Seabirds generally

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It’s Raining Eggs

By: Grace Kumaishi The Farallon Islands have not been immune to the recent storms that have affected much of Northern California this past week. Seabirds and biologists alike have had to contend with rain, high winds, and large swells. Luckily, all species are well-equipped to handle such conditions. Pictured: Common Murres surround a nesting Brandt’s

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Rhino Cam

By: Grace Kumaishi This past week has been an exciting one on Southeast Farallon Island! The first eggs have been recorded in followed nests of Western Gulls, Brandt’s Cormorants, Cassin’s Auklets, and Rhinoceros Auklets. Our team has also started regular breed checks of Ashy Storm-petrels, Pelagic Cormorants, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, California Gulls, and Double-crested

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Introducing the 2019 Seabird Crew

By: Sophia Prisco And we’re off! The 2019 seabird season has begun on the Southeast Farallon Island. Many thousands of murres, cormorants, auklets, puffins, and gulls have arrived to build their nests and raise their young…and the crew couldn’t be more excited. Just a few days ago we discovered our first Rhinoceros Auklet egg during

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Spring Has Sprung!

The spring/summer season has officially begun and the PRBO house is at capacity! Although the seabird breeding season is off to a relatively slow start, our biologists are staying busy and eating well. Pictured: the summer 2019 crew enjoying a leisurely Sunday brunch, a much anticipated weekly tradition on the Farallones. (Clockwise from front: Grace

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Meet Stumpy – The islands first Lesser black-backed gull

On 12 November 2018, while on a routine evening bird survey of the island, the SEFI crew encountered a third-cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull. This was a first island record for the species and one of only a handful that show up in California every year. Interestingly, we noticed that this bird was missing its left toes, a unique trait that makes it possible to track sightings of this individual in other locations. Sure enough, when the word was put out to the local birding community we discovered that the same bird had been spotted in Foster City, California last April!

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A red-footed rarity

On 5 September 2018, the first Red-footed Booby since 1975 appeared on Southeast Farallon Island. On 7 November 2018, another Red-footed Booby appeared. Though they remain rare, the number of red-footed boobies sighted in California is on the rise. With warming oceans and changes in their primary food resources, you might start seeing more of these tropical birds along the central California coast in the coming years.

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