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Status and Trends of the Ashy Storm-Petrel on Southeast Farallon Island, California, Based upon Capture-Recapture Analyses

William J. Sydeman, Nadav Nur, Elizabeth B. McLaren and Gerard J. McChesney
The Condor
Vol. 100, No. 3 (Aug., 1998), pp. 438-447
DOI: 10.2307/1369709
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1369709
Page Count: 10
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Status and Trends of the Ashy Storm-Petrel on Southeast Farallon Island, California, Based upon Capture-Recapture Analyses
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Abstract

We conducted a capture-recapture study on the population size and trends of the Ashy Storm-petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa) on Southeast Farallon Island (SEFI), California, based upon data collected in 1971, 1972, and 1992. From March through August, birds were lured to fixed-site sampling locations using taped vocalization playback. Using program JOLLY, we estimated population size and evaluated statistical models using goodness-of-fit and Likelihood Ratio tests. On the southwestern slope of Lighthouse Hill, amidst prime breeding habitat, numbers of breeding birds decreased from 1,271 ± 140 (x̄ ± SE) in 1972 to 710 ± 117 in 1992, a decline of 44% (approximate 95% CI = 22-66% decline; λ = -2.8% per annum); for a variety of reasons, we consider this to be the most reliable indicator of population change. In 1971, on a portion of SEFI relatively disjunct from the sampling area in 1972, 2,131 ± 322 breeding birds were estimated. To produce an overall early 1970s estimate with which to compare to 1992, we summed population estimates from 1971 and 1972. An overall value of 6,461 birds, of which 3,402 (53%) were breeders, was obtained for the early period. In 1992, the overall population in roughly the same area was estimated at 4,284 ± 409 birds, of which 1,990 ± 408 (46%) were presumed breeders. These results, encompassing peripheral as well as more centrally located storm-petrel habitat, indicate an overall population decline of 34% and a comparable decline in breeding birds of 42% over the past two decades. However, oceanographic conditions varied between 1971-1972 and 1992, and reduced food availability in 1992 may have influenced colony attendance and breeding effort. Nonetheless, the apparent population decline over the past 20 years suggests that the species warrants management and/or additional protective status.

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