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 - 2010. 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 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 low during 2003-2006 and seemed to vary independantly compared to survival at Buldir and Kasatochi. Crested and Least Auklets appeared similarly affected by rats. 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, 2001-2010 (summary of results)


Buxton, R., Major, H.L. Jones I.L. and J.C. Williams. 2013. IN PRESS Examining patterns in nocturnal seabird activity and recovery across the western Aleutian Islands, Alaska, using automated acoustic recording. Auk (abstract)

Major, H.L., Bond, A.L., Jones, I.L. and C.J. Eggleston. 2013. IN PRESS Stability of a seabird population in the presence of an introduced predator. Avian Conservation and Ecology (2013 vol. 8) [Least auklets and rats, Kiska, population viability model] (abstract)

Bond, A.L., Jones, I.L., Williams, J.C. and G.V. Byrd. 2013. IN PRESS Survival and reproductive success of Crested Auklets (Aethia cristatella) in the presence of introduced Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus). Marine Ornithology (abstract)

Bond, Alexander L., Ian L. Jones, Sampath Seneviratne and Sabir Bin Muzaffar. 2013. Least Auklet (Aethia pusilla), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:

Bond, A.L., Evans, W.C. and I.L. Jones. 2012. Avian mortality associated with a volcanic gas seep at Kiska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 124: 146-151. (Bond_Kiska-gas-seep.pdf) 279 k

Bond, A.L., Jones, I.L., Williams, J.C. and G.V. Byrd. 2011. Diet of auklet chicks in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska: similarity among islands, inter-species overlap, and relationships to ocean climate. Journal of Ornithology 153: 115-129 (Bondetal_aukletdiet_JOrnithol.pdf) 864 k

Pirie-Hay, D. 2011. Birds identified in pre-historic surface remains collected at the Unangas village site at Imuqudaagis (Witchcraft Point), Kiska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska. B.Sc Honours thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland (Pirie-Hay_Imuqudaagis_birds.pdf) 416 k

Bond, A.L. 2011. Relationships between oceanography and the demography & foraging of auklets (Charadriiformes, Alcidae: Aethia; Merrem 1788) in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Ph.D. thesis, Memorial University.

Bond, A.L., Jones, I.L., Sydeman, W.J., Major H.L., Minobe, S., Williams, J.C. and G.V. Byrd. 2011. Reproductive success of planktivorous seabirds in the North Pacific is related to ocean climate on decadal scales. Marine Ecology Progress Series 424: 205-218. (Bondetal_productivity_MEPS.pdf) 876 k

Bond, A.L., Jones, I.L., Williams, J.C. and G.V. Byrd. 2010. Auklet (Charadriiformes: Alcidae, Aethia spp.) chick meals from the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, have a very low incidence of plastic marine debris. Marine Pollution Bulletin 60: 1346-1349. (Bondetal_auklet_chick_plastic.pdf) 224 k

Eggleston, C. 2010. Ecology of introduced Norway Rats (Rattus norvegicus) in relation to conservation and management of seabirds on Kiska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska 2005-2006. M.Sc. Thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 98 pp. (Eggleston_MSc_KiskaRats.pdf ) 2100 k

Bond, A.L. and I.L. Jones. 2010. A Brown Hawk-Owl from Kiska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Western Birds 41: 107-110. (Bond&Jones_BHOW.pdf) 1.6 MB

Jones, I.L. 2010. Relationships among climate variability, ocean productivity and demography of Aleutian Island, Alaska, populations of three planktivorous seabirds: Least (Aethia pusilla), Crested (A. cristatella) and Whiskered auklets (A. pygmaea). North Pacific Research Board Final Report (Project 638). (638_final%20report_revApril27_.pdf) 2.7 MB

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 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 2010 Project Report (PDF format) LATEST

Kiska 2009 Project Report (PDF format)

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

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


(SERG Kiska research, You-Tube)

Other stuff:

Kiska personnel photo gallery

Alex visits Tasmania and talks about KiskaNEW

Brown Hawk Owl at Kiska

Unique plant ecology of Kiska Island (habitat images)

A photographic guide to some vascular plants of Kiska Island, Aleutian Islands, AlaskaNEW

Wildflowers and their habitats at Kiska Island (YouTube)NEW

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

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

Aleutian medevac flight pictures, July 12, 2003

Aleutian Volcano pictures



Last updated: March 7, 2013

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



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