Auklets (Aethia spp.) and rats at Sirius Point, Kiska Island, Alaska

A long-term project in ecological research and monitoring involving the Seabird Ecology Research Group of the Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge


We measured reproductive success of Least and Crested Auklets in relation to predation by introduced Norway Rats at Sirius Point, Kiska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska during 2001 - 2004 and 2006-2009. Intense predation of adults, eggs and chicks and near complete reproductive failure was observed during 2001 and 2002. Overall reproductive success was only 10% during 2002 (13% in 2001), the lowest ever measured in any year at any Least Auklet colony. Breeding failure resulted from rat predation, parental neglect and chick starvation. However, rats were scarce and productivity in 2003-2009 was relatively normal for an Aleutian auklet colony (c.50-60%). Least Auklet local adult survival was high during the breeding failure years, low during 2003-2006, varied independantly from Buldir and Kasatochi, and reached its lowest level during 2007-2008. Although the Sirius Point auklet colony is large (> 106 birds), its future is uncertain. Kiska Island is part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (AMNWR)


Least Auklet (Aethia pusilla) productivity and survival at Kiska, 2001-2008 (summary of results)


Major, H.L., Jones, I.L., Charette, M.R. and A.W. Diamond. 2007. Variations in the feeding ecology of introduced Norway rats. Journal of Zoology (London) 271: 463-468 ( Major et al JZO 2006.pdf ) 128 k

Eggleston, C.J. and I.L. Jones. 2006. On the feasibility of eradicating Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) from Kiska Island, Alaska. POSTER presentation, Pacific Seabird Group, Girdwood, Alaska. (Eggleston&JonesPSG2006.jpg) 380 k

Major, H.L., I.L. Jones, G.V. Byrd, and J.C. Williams. 2006. Assessing the effects of Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) on survival and productivity of Least Auklets (Aethia pusilla) at Kiska Island, Alaska. Auk 123(3): 681-694 (MajorAUK2006.pdf ) 620 k

Major, H.L. and I.L. Jones. 2005. Distribution, biology and prey selection of introduced Norway Rats Rattus norvegicus at Kiska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Pacific Conservation Biology 11(2): 105-113. (PacConsBiol_2005.pdf) 2500 k

Major, H.L. 2004. Impacts of of introduced Norway Rats (Rattus norvegicus) on Least Auklets (Aethia pusilla) breeding at Kiska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska during 2001-2003. M.Sc. Thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 127 pp. (THESIS_HLM.pdf ) 3800 k


Downloadable reports

(click to download):

Kiska 2009 Project Report (PDF format) LATEST

Rat effects on Crested Auklets 2001-2009? (PDF format) NEW

Kiska 2008 Project Report (PDF format)

Kiska 2007 Project Report (PDF format)

Kiska 2006 Project Report (PDF format)

Kiska 2004 Project Report (PDF format)

Kiska 2003 Project Report (PDF format)

Kiska 2002 Project Report (PDF format)

Kiska 2001 Project Report (PDF format)




(click to view):

Kiska 2003 slide show

Kiska 2002 slide show

Kiska 2001 slide show


Other stuff:

Kiska personnel photo gallery

Brown Hawk Owl at Kiska

Unique plant ecology of Kiska Island (habitat images)

A hike in the southern mountains of Kiska Island (habitat images) NEW

Sirius Point cabin destroyed by waves, 2006

building the new cabin at Sirius Point, Kiska Island (September 1-4, 2003)

Globe and Mail newspaper article (July 21, 2003)

Alaska Daily News article (July 13, 2003)

a hike on Kiska Volcano, July 27, 2002


recovery of seven WWII Navy aviators (Stars and Stripes, July 28, 2003)

PBY wreck

Bolo wreck

P-38 wreck NEW

Aleutian medevac flight pictures, July 12, 2003

Aleutian Volcano pictures



Last updated: November 4, 2009

This page is maintained by Ian L. Jones (e-mail: iljones 'at'



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