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Our next meeting will be Monday November 13 7PM at the Caspar Community Center 15051 Caspar Rd, Caspar, CA 95420.

Tufted PuffinFour Summers in the Aleutian Islands or why Tufted Puffins are the Coolest Seabird

Doug Forsell spent the summers of 1980 to 1983 working on several studies of seabirds throughout the Aleutian Islands. The first two summers were spent as part of a team of four biologists surveying by Zodiac the Eastern Aleutians (The Fox Islands). The mission was to accurately estimate the distribution and abundance of nesting seabirds in order to prioritize acquisition of islands for incorporation into the Aleutian National Wildlife Refuge and to identify large seabird colonies so the areas surrounding them could be excluded from planned offshore oil leases. They estimated almost 2,000,000 seabirds nested there, including three of the four largest colonies of tufted puffins, probably over one-third of the world population.

The next two summers were spent working from chartered ninety-foot crab boats on mortality of seabirds in high seas Japanese gillnet fisheries, recovery efforts of the then endangered Aleutian Canada goose, collecting seabirds for contaminants studies, and conducting colony surveys in the central and western Aleutian Islands.

This talk is not just about the incredible wildlife and scenery of the Aleutians, but also how we estimate seabird numbers, the trials and tribulations of working in the Aleutians, and the secret nightlife of tufted puffins.

Doug Forsell first moved to Northern California in the early 1970s when he received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Humboldt State University where he studied wintering belted kingfishers. He worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1976 until his retirement in 2012, spending ten years in Alaska, four years on wildlife refuges in the central Pacific Ocean, and twenty-two years working in Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Coastal waters. He has primarily worked on understanding the distribution and abundance of birds at sea through shipboard and aerial surveys. He has tried to apply that understanding of bird distribution and behavior to identify and mitigate for threats to birds from invasive plants and predators, sand mining, oil spills, habitat degradation, entanglement in fishing gear, and wind power development.

Doug now lives south of Point Arena where he can pursue his hobby of studying seabirds.

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