Seabird Camp 2017 Day 320 Jul 2017, by 2017 Seabird Camps in
Another full day, with around 50 kids!
Our Commander Island friends started off the day by teaching campers the Russian words for “puffin” “kittiwake”… and “car”. We then split into three groups: The T-shirt group started coloring the 2017 Seabird Camp logo showing the Commander Islands and Pribilof Islands, another group dissected albatross pellets from Hawaii, sorting out the contents between made-made and natural material (e.g. squid beaks). Everyone was shocked by how much plastic there was in each pellet, even a whole lighter in one. The last group brainstormed the plot for the Theatre production. Polina practiced some cormorant dance moves.
The YCC crew then led some seabird-focused active games with the younger kids, and the older kids headed out to the cliffs for some field-work. We had three stations for students to rotate through. Population counts, a Productivity Plot (we were able to spot 3 murre eggs, and one kittiwake egg), and a photography area where Ram showed students how to capture images of breeding behavior and birds in flight. The weather was perfect, and we had great views of both puffin species and parakeet auklets. The younger kids then joined us for some cliff-time, and ended with a scavenger hunt for flowers while waiting for the van-ride home.
Quick break and supper, then folk got together for the evening session. Ram led the Commander Island students to an incredible viewing area, perched over cormorant nests with large chicks. Polina got some great shots of landing birds, and Sasha and Artim practiced flight shots. Back at school, students dissected fulmars that had been caught as bycatch. We were all amazed to find small plastic pieces in the stomachs of 9 out of the 11 birds.
Amazingly, one of the birds still had a baited hook attached. We had learned about seabird bycatch on Monday, so seeing the sharp hook in a real bird brought that story to reality. Seeing the plastics in both the albatross bolus and fulmar stomachs, and dissection birds caught by fishery bycatch has made us all think what we can change in our actions to prevent these seabird causalities.