We have been monitoring the Cabin Cove ANMU funnels since the night of May 7th, as we do each year. We also have a camera set up in funnel 4 again, to monitor the last remaining funnel that survived the blowdown in North Cove. Unfortunately, our ANMU chick numbers at the funnels have been very low to date. As of the night of May 28th, we have a total of 39 chicks in Cabin Cove; last year we had 104 chicks on this same date. The camera in North Cove has captured pictures of 10 chicks so far. Information from biologists with the Canadian Wildlife Service suggests that Ancient Murrelets in other colonies in Haida Gwaii are nesting later than usual, so we are interested to see how long the chicks continue to arrive at our funnels this year. Each year we continue monitoring until there are two nights in a row with zero chicks; this usually happens around the beginning of June, but the date varies quite a bit, and one year the crew was still staying up at night waiting for chicks until the 22th of June!
Whether last winter’s die-off of Cassin’s Auklets, thought to be caused by above average sea temperatures along the west coast of North America that decreased their food supplies, affected Ancient Murrelet populations is not known. However, there are similar foods found in both Cassin Auklet and Ancient Murrelet diets. We have done the first check in our Cassin’s Auklet nestboxes, and found that there are a similar number of eggs and chicks to last year. Last year there were 7 chicks; this year so far we found 2 chicks and 4 eggs.