The Channel Islands are vital habitat for seabirds and shorebirds, providing essential nesting and feeding grounds for 99% of seabirds in southern California and important wintering areas and stopover points for shorebirds. Thirty shorebird species have recorded, including snowy plovers, willets, wandering tattlers, whimbrels, black turnstones, and sanderlings. Twelve species of seabirds depend on the rich marine resources and the isolation of these offshore islands to provide food and undisturbed nesting grounds safe from predators. The islands host half of the world's population of ashy storm-petrels and western gulls and 80% of the U.S. breeding population of Scripps's murrelets. In addition, the islands are home to the only major breeding population of California brown pelicans in the western U.S.
The Channel Islands are critically important to seabirds, supporting:
- the largest breeding colonies of seabirds in southern California
- the only breeding colonies of California brown pelicans in California
- the only protected colonies of California brown pelicans and Scripps's murrelets on the West Coast of the U.S.
- the largest colonies in southern California of Cassin's auklet, western gulls, Scripps's murrelets, rhinoceros auklets, tufted puf fins, ashy storm-petrels, double-crested cormorants, pigeon guillemots, and black storm-petrels
- over 30 years of seabird research