February 2013


Interview with Shiway Wang

25.02.2013 in Education, Uncategorized

Shiway is an expert in taking a small fat sample from live, wild seabirds and using this fat sample to find out what the bird has been eating. What is your job? I am a marine biologist. Why do people study seabird diet? One of the reasons people study seabird diet…

Tracking Seabirds Using Geolocation

25.02.2013 in Education, Uncategorized

Tracking Seabirds using Geolocation Data loggers; an interview with Rachael Orben, PhD student at University of California, Santa Cruz. Seabirds spend the majority of their lives at sea searching for food. Knowing where birds go during both the summer and the winter is important for understanding where birds find food…

Local Lore

20.02.2013 in Education

Students at St. Paul recently met with Aleut Community of St. Paul Island (Tribal) Education and Ecosystem Conservation folks to discuss the cultural, historic, and current uses of local seabirds.The majority of St. George students were also able to “attend” by Skype. Many thanks to Aquilina Lestenkof for discussing the…

Bird Cams

18.02.2013 in Education, Uncategorized

This month, we’re learning about methods used to research seabirds. Video recorders are getting small and light enough to attach to some of the larger seabirds. Bird cams have been successfully attached to Imperial Cormorants. In this video clip, the bird is seen to dive 150m in 40 seconds, searching for…

Outer space

16.02.2013 in Education, Uncategorized

The first ever penguin census from space has shown there may be twice as many Emperor Penguins living in the Antarctic than previously thoughtThe study, led by British Antarctic Survey, counted penguins from high resolution satellite photos taken from space.  The black and white birds were easy to spot from such…

Crested Auklet

16.02.2013 in Uncategorized

The Crested Auklet (Aethia cristatella) nests in the Bering Sea and Sea of Okhotsk.   Like the other auklets, Crested Auklets lay their single egg in a rocky crevice.  Colonies are often huge (over one million birds), and may be mixed with the smaller Least Auklet.  Crested Auklets are known…

Flying Fish

15.02.2013 in Education, Uncategorized

Parents of many species of seabird carry back whole prey items to feed their chick at the colony. Researchers can use binoculars, telescopes, or take photos of these “bill-loads” and identify the species, number and size of prey delivered. This information can tell us a lot about what food is…

GPS loggers

13.02.2013 in Education, Uncategorized

Interview with DR. Rosana Paredes What is your job? Research biologist Why do people use GPS loggers to study seabirds? GPS loggers can tell us about the location of seabirds. These loggers provide useful information about where and when birds feed, and these data can then be used for answering…

Plotting a GPS track

13.02.2013 in Education, Uncategorized

Dr. Rosana Paredes has been using GPS loggers to find out where thick-billed murres and  black-legged kittiwakes breeding on the Pribilof Islands travel to at sea.  Read more Here are some GPS locations (latitude and longitude) for a complete foraging trip made by a black-legged kittiwake breeding on St. Paul….

Greek Mythology

12.02.2013 in Education, Uncategorized

Seabirds even play a role in Greek Mythology…. In Greek mythology, Daedalus made wings for himself and his young son Icarus to escape from where they were imprisoned in Crete. He tied feathers together, and secured the feathers at their midpoints with string and at their bases with wax. Daedalus…

Seabird Guano Fertilizer!

01.02.2013 in Education, Uncategorized

The word “guano” originates from the South American Andes, and means “the droppings of sea birds” Seabird guano is a prized fertilizer due to its high phosphorus and nitrogen content.  You can buy it at most garden stores, and I’ve even used it on tomatoes here in Alaska! Waters off…