Photo: Seabirds

PNCIMA provides a rich foraging ground for seabirds (Credit: Jeffery Young)

Welcome to the seabirds page of the 'I Am Fish' tour. These three guiding words, I am fish, appear simple. But they reflect an ancient and extraordinary web of biological activity that connects humans with the ocean.

I am seabird

Why do two million seabirds nest on the Scott Islands? Why do a million sooty shearwaters, a bird that weighs about the same as five apples, travel 64,000 km from New Zealand to the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA) every year? Why do black-footed albatross, that nest in Hawaii, fly 4,000 km to the PNCIMA just to gather a meal for their young? The answer is the same for all three questions. PNCIMA provides a rich foraging ground for seabirds. These extraordinary migrations of birds link PNCIMA to the rest of the world.

Why are seabirds important to humans?

Humans have always held great admiration for birds. We marvel at the evolutionary design that allows an albatross to travel several hours without flapping its wings, or a humming bird to beat its wings 80 times per second. In PNCIMA, which is home to half of the world's ancient murrelet population, you can observe two-day-old chicks that look like pompoms on toothpicks, scramble through the understory of old-growth rainforest into the pounding surf to meet their parents. It is often claimed that more bird books than bibles are sold in Canada, reflecting the widespread existence value we have for birds.

What can we do to protect them?

Seabirds are vulnerable to many human threats, including oil spills, destruction of nesting colonies, bycatch in fisheries and diminished sources of prey. Protection of colonies and primary feeding areas is necessary to ensure continued abundance of these inspiring birds.

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