Alcatraz Island seabird monitoring
La Isla de los Alcatraces, "Island of Pelicans", dubbed by Juan Manuel de Ayala in 1775 for the abundance of pelicaniforms and other seabirds, is a regionally important breeding site for seabirds on the West Coast of North America. In conjunction with the National Park Service Golden Gate National Recreation Area, we have studied the populations and productivity of seabirds on Alcatraz Island since the early 1990s (Saenz et al. 2006). Potential disturbance to breeding birds is of concern because Alcatraz is the most heavily-visited tourist destination in northern California, with well over one million visitors annually. Moreover, given its proximity to San Francisco, various activities including firework displays and the America's Cup sailboat racing may cause disturbance to the birds. Field studies focus on the breeding ecology of Brandt's cormorant and western gull. Data reports are available upon request.