Impact of a major forest blowdown event on breeding of Ancient Murrelets, Synthliboramphus antiquus, at a colony in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

Anthony J. Gaston, Jake Pattison, Ainsley Brown


In the winter of 2010–2011 a large storm blew down an area of about 18 ha of mature coastal rainforest on East Limestone Island, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. The area supported part of a breeding colony of Ancient Murrelets (Synthliboramphus antiquus). Observations of the timing of chick departures from this section of the colony in 2012 and 2013 suggested that daily timing of chick departures were delayed, on average, by about 30 min, compared with earlier years. This delay may have been caused by debris from the blowdown impeding the progress of chicks over the ground. A sharp decrease in the number of chicks leaving the blowdown area in 2014 may signify that some breeding pairs left the area following reduced breeding success.


Ancient Murrelet; Synthliboramphus antiquus; Haida Gwaii; Queen Charlotte Islands; chick departure; blowdown; breeding success

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