This fall marked the fruition of years of dedicated work and planning by many people for the common goal of restoring seabird habitat on Año Nuevo Island. Big things happened-- a landing craft came and transported literally tons of materials and plants to the island, a beautiful habitat ridge was built out of a disorderly pile of eucalyptus logs, thousands of native plants were planted, and wooden nest boxes were replaced with state of-the-art, custom designed ceramic nest modules.
The net sum of all this will be a more sustainable, resilient home for our local breeding seabird species. Burrowing Rhinoceros Auklets, Cassin’s Auklets, and Pigeon Guillemots will benefit from the stabilized soil, which will ease the constant threat of burrow collapse and habitat disappearance due to rapid, human-sped erosion of the island. Brandt’s and Pelagic cormorants will benefit from the habitat ridge creating a visual barrier from human disturbance on the island, which has historically limited nesting habitat. The new plants will provide Western gulls much better shelter from the weather for their young than the previously barren soil.
None of this would have been possible, however, without the many people who volunteered their hours and muscles, free of charge, out of the goodness of their hearts, to helping out the birds and the island. In 2010 we had over 60 different volunteers help out in nearly every facet of the project.These volunteers, by the way, are a hard-core bunch of people. We really put them to the test and they, undaunted, passed brilliantly. They helped us in all manner of adventurous endeavors—launching zodiacs into smashing shore-break; designing and crafting innovative new ceramic nest boxes; blacksmithing custom hinges for the habitat ridge’s gates; lifting heavy motors and heavier boats; maintaining the field station; weighing and banding auklet chicks; manning 1 and 3/8 inch auger bit drills to build the ridge; and of course, planting thousands of lovely native plants.