We are a group of concurrently run Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba) breeding surveys run and managed by a network of local organizations across the Salish Sea. Our goals are to monitor the health of Pigeon Guillemot populations by conducting surveys of their colonies throughout the breeding season. Pigeon Guillemots are an important indicator species for the Puget Sound and the greater Salish Sea as one of the few seabirds that breed, with a unique life history that connects near-shore marine species, bluff stewardship, and overall land use. Unlike many other members of their family (Alcids, the same family as puffins), Pigeon Guillemots will breed in small numbers and will even use human made structures with heavy traffic to breed. Because they do not mass in colonies and have been presumed a stable population, they have been overlooked in studies throughout the region until our survey began in 2004 on Whidbey Island. We now have 6 individual organizations managing volunteer groups in breeding surveys throughout Washington State. Our data is being used to understand the health of the Puget Sound and Salish Sea in collaboration with local researchers. As near the top of their food chain, Pigeon Guillemots are an important part of nearshore ecosystems across the region. But that's not all, they're gregarious and hilarious, and our volunteers get to enjoy their unbridled behavior while surveying.
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