Saving Seabirds on the Farallon Islands
The islands of the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge host the largest seabird breeding colony in the United States outside of Alaska and Hawai`i. Twenty-five percent of California’s breeding seabirds, with more than 300,000 individuals of 13 species, can be found there. About fifty percent of the world’s population of the rare Ashy Storm-Petrels (listed as a Species of Management Concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature) breed on the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge islands. Unfortunately, the presence of introduced, non-native house mice threatens this globally significant seabird colony.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, PRBO Conservation Science, and Island Conservation have partnered together to restore native seabird populations on the islands, particularly the Ashy Storm-Petrel. Removing invasive house mice will provide safer breeding habitat for seabirds and other native animals. Once invasive species are removed from islands, island ecosystems can often recover quickly.