A Snapshot of the Ending Seabird Season
August 4, 2017
Now that August is beginning, most of the chicks on Southeast Farallon are grown and fledging. Field work is winding down, and it is with mixed feelings that we say goodbye to the birds we have watched and worked with from egg to fledge.
Where are they bound? Most of the Western Gulls (Larus occidentalis) that fledge from Southeast Farallon will remain along the coast of California, not far from the island itself. They have the potential for a long life ahead of them, the oldest known Western Gull reaching 34 years of age. The oldest breeding bird we have recorded was the bird who holds the 34 year record, banded in 1973.
The recently banded Brandt’s Cormorants (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) chicks will distribute along the Californian coast, feeding on fish and squid.
The Rhinoceros Auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) chicks are getting ready to fledge, a handful having already departed. These birds are also long lived, the oldest known breeding bird recorded on the island just this season at 28 years old, banded as an adult in 1989. They will leave their burrows and boxes and spend the winter at a location not yet known by their human neighbors, returning when they are ready to once again make their way back to the Farallones.
Last of all to fledge are the remaining Point Blue summer season interns.
Best of luck to them all, to whatever corners of the map they are bound.
-Nina Duggan (Point Blue Intern)