03 Jan THE ISLAND OF BIRDS; ALCATRAZ
Did you know most species of gulls can live up to 30 years?
Or that Black-crowned Night-Herons and Snowy Egrets, were almost hunted to extinction for their plume feathers that were used as a hat accessory?
One job of my internship here at Golden Gate is working with the shorebirds on Alcatraz.
Before coming to California I knew nothing about shorebirds. I knew that every species of gull was referred to as a seagull and that they loved hanging out in fast-food parking lots in the midwest. Since being here I have been learning so much and these fascinating creatures.
The most common species of shorebirds found on Alcatraz are; Western Gull, Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemot, Black-crowned Night-Heron, and Snowy Egret. Shorebirds play an important role within their environment as they are key indicators for a healthy ecosystem and help manage local fish populations within the Bay area. Shorebirds spend the majority of their life on the water. Only coming to land to breed and raise their young, is why protecting shorebird habits is so crucial for their survival.
To help manage and protect these birds, we shut down areas of Alcatraz during the breeding season. This gives the opportunity for the birds to breed and raise young in peace and away from tourists. We also relocate nests from busy areas to an area that is better for raising young. Lastly, we do counts and surveys to help give us an idea of the population and species diversity for the year. This way we can look at different trends over time and see if populations are increasing or decreasing.
This internship has given me a newfound respect and admiration for birds. I am eager to learn more about these animals. I am excited to update you all, as we enter into our busy season and I get to see firsthand the massive amount of birds that flock to Alcatraz.