Pigeon Guillemot Survey

Pigeon Guillemot Survey

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 consisted 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.

2018 Survey Efforts

The 2018 monitoring effort got off to a successful start. In May 31 volunteers completed the pre-season training and were assigned to one of 16 sites along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. In the week of June 11 the volunteers started surveying the breeding colonies and they continued the effort until September. Across 16 separate sites we had 50 volunteers conducting surveys.

The 2018 survey data was entered into a regional database available for the public. Prey deliveries to the colonies revealed that 52% were gunnels/pricklebacks, 26% were sculpins, and 17% were in other categories.

Survey Sites

  • Bachelor Rock
  • Port Angeles
  • Dungeness Spit Wildlife Refuge
  • Port Williams County Park (8 sites)
  • John Wayne Marina
  • Panorama Vista (2 sites)
  • Mussel Beach

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 (see map below). The bluff at Port Williams was very long and required five monitoring sites. The 10 colonies were 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 was incorporated into Island MRC's database.


Pigeon Guillemot Survey