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June Speaker Series

May 16th, 2018

Jailbirds of Alcatraz:

Monitoring Nesting Seabird Colonies

Heather Robinson
Berkeley: Thursday, June 21
6:30 p.m. refreshments, 7 p.m. program

Alcatraz is one of the most visited National Parks in our country, yet very few people realize this 22 acre island in the center of San Francisco Bay is home to nine species of nesting water and seabirds. Every March-September these birds can be found on Alcatraz, with the largest colonies belonging to western gulls and Brandt’s cormorants. In order to uphold the NPS dual mandate to preserve resources for enjoyment of people, the bird populations on Alcatraz have been monitored for over 20 years, focusing on three main areas: population size, reproductive success, and human disturbance.

Heather Robinson is a scientist with the Farallon Institute in Petaluma, CA, where for the last five years she has studied seabirds on Alcatraz and California sea lions on Año Nuevo Island. Heather moved to central California in 2002 to pursue a Master’s degree in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. After completing her degree, Heather moved to Africa for a two year service in the Peace Corps. She then returned to San Francisco Bay where she began a career working with marine birds for the U.S. Geological Survey and then Farallon Institute.