Rare Seabird Now Thriving at the Channel Islands
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725
Biologist Christine Hamilton, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) in Ventura, will be the March speaker for the “From Shore toSea” lecture series. Her presentation will highlight the natural history of the Xantus’s murrelet and its recovery at the Channel Islands. This species
is a rare seabird with a world population of less than 39,000 birds and a very limited breeding distribution, nesting only on the Channel Islands and on islands off the west coast of Baja California, Mexico.
These small, secretive seabirds nest in concealed sites under dense shrubs and in rock crevices occurring along cliffs and in sea caves. The main threats to this species include non-native predators, oil spills, human disturbance, and artificial lighting near nesting colonies. Since the removal of non-native rats on Anacapa Island, signs are encouraging for eventual restoration of this important murrelet colony.
Hamiltonworks on threatened and endangered species issues in southern California. Before joining USFWS in 2004, she conducted research on the Xantus’s murrelet in the California Channel Islands as a graduate student with Humboldt State University, Arcata, California. Her master’s thesis studied distribution of these seabirds during the breeding season relative to oceanographic conditions.
The “From Shore to Sea” lecture series is jointly sponsored by Channel Islands National Park, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, and Santa Barbara Maritime Museum in an effort to further the understanding of research on the Channel Islands and surrounding waters. The lectures occur at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, 2007, at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum at 113 Harbor Way in Santa Barbara Harbor and Wednesday, March 14, 2007, at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center located at 1901 Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor. The programs are free and open to the public.
Did You Know?
The endemic island deer mouse is the only native terrestrial mammal common to all the Channel Islands and is larger than mainland deer mice. Densities of deer mice on the islands can be greater than anywhere else in the world. This makes you happy if you're an owl, but not if you're a camper.