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A Pigeon Guillemot, a sprightly seabird, is considered an "indicator species," meaning a species that "indicates" the health of an environment. A large group of Whidbey Island Audubon volunteers in Washington State has been studying the 1,000 or so guillemots that breed on the island. In April, watch for these birds bobbing in the water near Puget Sound ferry docks, diving for food off rocky beaches, or perching outside their bluff burrows. Join your local Audubon and learn more about conservation issues.
Pigeon Guillemot: An Indicator Species
Written by Frances Wood
This is BirdNote!
[Pigeon Guillemot vocalizations]
That’s a Pigeon Guillemot (pronounced GIL-uh-maht), a sprightly seabird that’s catching a lot of attention these days. Picture a black, pigeon-shaped marine bird with white wing-patches and fire-engine-red feet.
Scientists and conservation groups studying Puget Sound consider Pigeon Guillemots an “indicator species,” meaning a species that “indicates” the health of an environment. We’re familiar with other Puget Sound indicator species: Orca, salmon, and rockfish. But we’ve got some catching-up to do to understand guillemots.
A large group of Whidbey Island Audubon volunteers has been studying the 1,000 or so guillemots that breed on the island. But more time is needed to accurately determine population trends. [Guillemots calling and waves splashing]
This month, watch for Pigeon Guillemots bobbing in the water near Puget Sound ferry docks, diving for food off rocky beaches, or perching outside their bluff burrows. Like playful children, guillemots splash in the water and then take to the air. [Splashing and flapping]
The only seabirds besides gulls to breed commonly in the Puget Sound region, Pigeon Guillemots are quickly becoming our seabird mascot.
[More guillemot vocalizations]
To learn more about protecting and enhancing habitat for birds and all wildlife, come to BirdNote.org.
Call of the Pigeon Guillemot provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by C.A. Sutherland.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2007 Tune In to Nature.org April 2010
ID# 041907PIGU2KPLU PIGU-02