Kittiwake Behavior


Waiting for eggs…

08.07.2017 in Education, Kittiwake Behavior

Rachael and Abram are on St. George Island studying red-legged kittiwakes.  Even though field biologists can be totally organized with all the details for camp-life, they can’t control whether their study species will lay eggs…  Here’s Rachael’s most recent report from the field:

Back on St. George

08.06.2017 in Education, Kittiwake Behavior

The red-legged kittiwake research team are back on St. George Island.  Here’s Rachael Orben’s update on the start of their field season: Abram and I arrived on St George about a week ago.


26.05.2017 in Education, Kittiwake Behavior

Mercury is one of the most toxic contaminants found in the environment. It is released naturally during volcanic eruptions, however, over the last 300 years, humans have released lots of mercury into the environment while mining for gold and burning fossil fuels. In fact, mercury concentrations found in arctic animals…

First Red-legged Kittiwake egg!

10.06.2016 in Kittiwake Behavior, Uncategorized

Update from Rachael and Abram on St. George Island We saw our first red-legged kittiwake egg today! Abram spotted the egg as we watched a bird we were considering catching fight off its downstairs neighbor while sitting tight. The bird then stood up and rolled its egg! Last year the first egg…

Before there were eggs!

11.04.2016 in Education, Kittiwake Behavior

Where do red-legged kittiwakes forage before they lay their eggs? No one really knew the answer to this question until Rachael Orben and team deployed GPS dataloggers on them last May (2015) on St. George Island.

Central Place Foraging

07.04.2016 in Education, Kittiwake Behavior

What is a central-place forging trip? Red-legged kittiwakes are birds and therefore they lay eggs to reproduce. And, an egg needs to be kept warm for the embryo to grow and hatch into a chick. Obviously, seabirds aren’t able to lay eggs out at sea (where their food is). Instead,…

Kittiwake Highways and Traffic Patterns

29.03.2016 in Education, Kittiwake Behavior

St George Island is home to roughly half a million red-legged kittiwakes and the majority of these birds nest on the north facing cliffs of the island. The main foraging area for red-legged kittiwakes is located to the southwest of St. George, out past the shelf break and into the…


19.11.2015 in Education, Kittiwake Behavior

Here’s a flashback to the 2015 field season studying red-legged kittiwakes breeding on St. George Island, by Rachael Orben: In early May (before the grass had really started to turn green) Abram and I arrived on St George. We even managed to land on our first flight!

Cold Feet?

02.03.2015 in Education, Kittiwake Behavior

Miron, a student on St. Paul Island, asks, “Why don’t kittiwakes get frostbite on their feet if their legs and feet are in the cold water all the time?”

Red-legged Kittiwake Ecology

09.02.2015 in Education, Kittiwake Behavior, Uncategorized

Red-legged kittiwake photo (above) by Caitlin Kroeger There are two species of kittiwake, the black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) and the red-legged kittiwake (Rissa brevirostris). The red-legged kittiwake is a small cliff-nesting gull that is endemic (restricted) to the Bering Sea.

Meet the Team

21.01.2015 in Education, Kittiwake Behavior

Instead of working independently and alone, it is more and more common for a group of scientists to work together to figure out answers to a question they are all interested in. Working together on a project like this is also called ‘collaboration’.

Red-legged Kittiwake Behavior

17.11.2014 in Education, Kittiwake Behavior

The Pribilof Islands are an important site for many seabird species, including 70% of the world’s red-legged kittiwake population. The Refuge’s annual seabird monitoring program provides essential information about population size and how many chicks are raised each summer. Other researchers come to the islands