Goals

We aim to:

  1. educate the community about marine bird species, natural history, habits, and conservation;
  2. enable monitoring of long-term population trends; and
  3. build knowledge and conservation capacity for the future.

Iceberg Point Project

This project is dependent on the enthusiasm already found within the Lopez Island community to form a strong base of volunteers interested in the continuation of the project. The volunteers already involved with Kwiáht and who have shown interest in the Iceberg Point bird survey include some shoreline landowners who can help place all of the rocky coasts of south Lopez under some form of protection. By creating for residents and landowners an opportunity to get involved, we are providing an avenue of education and engagement that will lead to future conservation action.

Kwiáht will be working closely with the BLM and other local scientists and organizations in the future to collaborate in tracking population trends among seabirds in the Salish Sea. This survey will also be tied to Kwiáht’s long-term studies of migrating salmon and forage fish, in particular the sand lance, a common prey source of marine birds and salmon that is poorly understood and may be declining. By collaborating with BLM, Kwiáht and the community are trying to address the issue of prey abundance for both birds and ESA-listed Chinook salmon.

Abundance survey

The abundance survey aims to detect and document the presence of the marbled murrelet as well as migration timing, seasonal abundance, and species composition at the site year-round. There have been widespread seabird declines across the Salish Sea and Puget Sound and we hope to be able to detect any further shifts by sustaining this project indefinitely in the future. Engaging a core of trained, active volunteers is essential to the establishment of this long-term effort.

Breeding survey

Through the breeding bird survey, we will identify the small islands off the south coast of Lopez Island that seabirds are using for breeding. We will document the number of nests and make comparisons with historical and contemporary anecdotes of breeding presence and will establish baseline data for future comparisons. Observations of prey taken to the young will provide us with information on the preferred prey species during the breeding season on which the birds rely. Our observations may indicate some disturbance by human activities, and if so, this may provide information to the public to encourage the avoidance of such disturbances.