The pigeon guillemot is considered an indicator species of nearshore health, since this bird feeds heavily on forage fish and other small marine creatures it catches by diving beneath the surface. In May and June, pigeon guillemots lay eggs and by end of June, the birds are busy providing fish for the juveniles in the burrows.
The survey effort of pigeon guillemot breeding colonies was initiated in June 2016. Clallam MRC in collaboration of Island MRC and Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society surveyed separate colonies at two locations near Dungeness Spit and three locations near Port Williams. Each survey consists of one hour monitoring of the breeding colony before 9 am, one day a week from June through September. The weekly surveys were conducted by 14 volunteers.
2017 Survey Efforts
The 2017 monitoring of breeding colonies got underway in early June and the effort was expanded to six areas in Clallam County. The bluff at Port Williams was very long and required five monitoring sites. The 10 colonies surveyed by 25 volunteers.
The surveys documented a total of 310 adults of which 40% attempted to breed. The prey taken to the burrows by the adults was dominated by gunnels. The data will be incorporated into Island MRC's database.
The data from the 2017 season in Clallam County is summarized in this report. Six years of monitoring data conducted by Island MRC has been summarized in this article.