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

What is this? Answer: A web page (managed by ilj) summarizing the results of 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 during 2001-2010.

Abstract

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 when introduced rats were abundant. 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)

Take home summarizing message: Kiska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, mostly a wilderness area in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge is ravaged by the presence of exotic invasive Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) introduced to the island during WW2. Part of the impact of the introduced rats is their predation of Least and Crested Auklets at their breeding colony at Sirius Point on Kiska Volcano. Based on our measurements, thousands of adults, nestlings and eggs of these species are destroyed every year. We found a correlation between apparant rat abundance and annual reproductive success.

Least Auklet (Aethia pusilla) productivity and survival at Kiska, 2001-2010 (summary of results)

Relevant reports, publications and theses (in order of publication by year)

Day, R.H., Lawhead, B.E., Early, T.J., and E.B. Rhode. 1978. [Kiska sections from] Results of a marine bird and mammals survey of the western Aleutian Islands, summer 1978. Aleutian Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Unpublished report. 156 pp. (Day_1978_Kiska_report.pdf) 2.6 MB

Deines, F.G., and G.T. McClellan. 1986. Post compound 1080 wildlife surveys, Kiska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, 25 March - 30 March 1987 (in support of the EPA experimental compound 1080 use permit 6704-EUP-28). Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, Homer, USA. Unpublished report. 29 pp. (Deines&McClellan-B.pdf) 1.1MB

Deines, F.G., and G.T. McClellan. 1987. Second survey and monitoring of birds and mammals of Kiska Island, June 1986 (in support of the EPA experimental compound 1080 use permit 6704-EUP-28), Kiska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, Homer, USA. Unpublished report. (Deines&McClellan-A.pdf) 3.4MB

Douglas, H. 1988. unpublished notes on rat occurrance and auklet predation at Sirius Point, Kiska Island, Alaska in 1988. (JeffW-fax-re-rats-July1996.pdf) 128 k

Williams, J. unpublished notes on rat occurrance and auklet predation at Sirius Point, Kiska Island, Alaska in 1996. (JeffW-rat-notes-Kiska-1996.pdf) 111 k

Rauzon, M.J. 2000. A rat in Tom's house may eat Tom's ice cream. [humour] (Rauzon-Kiska-2000.pdf) 171 k

Jones, I.L., Gray, C.M., Dusureault, J., and A.L. Sowls. 2001. Auklet demography and Norway rat distribution and abundance at Sirius Point, Kiska Island in 2001. Unpublished report for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, 25 pp. (finalKiskaREP.pdf) 592 k

Major, H.L. and I.L. Jones. 2002. Impacts of the Norway rat on the breeding auklet colony at Sirius Point, Kiska Island in 2002. Unpublished report for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, 27 pp. (KiskaRAT2002.pdf) 593 k

Major, H.L. and I.L. Jones. 2002. Impacts of the Norway rat on the auklet breeding colony at Sirius Point, Kiska Island in 2003. Unpublished report for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, 27 pp. (KiskaRATREP2003.pdf) 242 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 ) 3.8 MB

Jones, I.L., Dusureault, J., and H.L. Major. 2004. Least and Crested Auklet productivity and survival in relation to introduced Norway rats at Sirius Point, Kiska Island in 2004, with survey results for the eastern side of the auklet colony. Unpublished report for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, 27 pp. (KiskaREPORT2004.pdf) 4.7MB

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) 2.6 MB

Eggleston, C.J. and I.L. Jones. 2006. Assessing the effects of Norway rats on auklet breeding success and survival at Sirius Point, Kiska Island, Alaska in 2006. Unpublished report for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, 25 pp. (Kiska_2006_REPORT.pdf) 3.4 MB

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

Bond, A.L. and I.L. Jones. 2007. Survival and productivity of auklets (Aethia spp.) at Sirius Point, Kiska Island, Alaska in 2007 in relation to the abundance and distribution of Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus). Unpublished report for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, 25 pp. (Kiska_2007_REPORT.pdf) 989 k

Bond, A.L. and I.L. Jones. 2008. Demography of auklets (Aethia spp.) in relation to Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) at Kiska Island, Alaska in 2008 . Unpublished report for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, 22 pp. (KiskaReport2008.pdf) 1.6 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 ) 131 k

Bond, A.L. and I.L. Jones. 2009. An assessment of the evidence for Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) effects on Crested Auklets (Aethia cristatella) at Sirius Point, Kiska Island, Alaska from 2001-2009. Unpublished report for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, 6 pp. (rats&CRAUs_Kiska2009.pdf) 80 k

Bond, A.L. and I.L. Jones. 2009. Auklet demography and the influence of Norway rats at Kiska Island - report on results of monitoring to 2009. Unpublished report for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, 36 pp. (KiskaReport2009.pdf) 332 k

Jones, I.L. 2010. Kiska flora images. [book about wildlowers and their habitats at Kiska] (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvmMJ2lROYg)

Bond, A.L., Penney, E.E, and I.L. Jones. 2010. Ten years of investigating auklet-rat interactions at Kiska Island, Alaska: summary of monitoring 2001-2010. Unpublished report for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, 36 pp. (Kiska_Report_2010.pdf) 420 k

Eggleston, C. 2010. Ecology of Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) in relation to conservation and management of seabirds at Kiska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska 2005-2006. M.Sc. thesis, Memorial University. (Eggleston_MSc_KiskaRats.pdf) 2.2MB

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) 226 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) 1.7MB

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) 882 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-Thesis-20110302.pdf) 14.5 MB

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) 424 k

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) 278 k

Major, H.L., Bond, A.L., Jones, I.L. and C.J. Eggleston. 2013. Stability of a seabird population in the presence of an introduced predator. Avian Conservation and Ecology 8 (1): 2. (ACE-ECO-LeAu-Rat-stability.pdf) 774 k

Buxton, R., Major, H.L. Jones I.L. and J.C. Williams. 2013. Examining patterns in nocturnal seabird activity and recovery across the western Aleutian Islands, Alaska, using automated acoustic recording. Auk 130(2): 331-341. (Buxton_seabird-recovery.pdf) 348 k

Bond, A.L., Jones, I.L., Williams, J.C. and G.V. Byrd. 2013. Survival and reproductive success of Crested Auklets (Aethia cristatella) in the presence of introduced Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus). Marine Ornithology 41: 41-48. (Bondetal_CRAU&rats.pdf) 759 k

Jones, I.L., Eggleston, C.J. and A.L. Bond. 2014. Application of a non-invasive indexing method for introduced Norway Rats (Rattus norvegicus) in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. manuscript. (Jones-et-al_rat_monitoring.pdf) 214 k

Bond, A.L., and C.J. Eggleston. 2015. Application of a non-invasive indexing method for introduced Norway Rats (Rattus norvegicus) in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Biodiversity and Conservation 24: 2551-2563. (Bond-Eggleston2015.pdf) 473 k

Other stuff:

Kiska personnel photo gallery

Kiska Song Meter placement 2009-2010

Brown Hawk Owl at Kiska

Unique plant ecology of Kiska Island (habitat images)

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)

a hike on Kiska Volcano, July 27, 2002

A FIELD GUIDE TO UNEXPLOITED ORNAMENTS AT KISKA

 

Last updated: October 16, 2018

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

 

 

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