Mendocino Coast Audubon Society

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Our next meeting will be Monday, May 16 Caspar Community Center 15051 Caspar Rd, Caspar, CA 95420 7PM Holy CAAU*! The Impact of "The Blob" on West Coast Seabirds" with Dr. Julia Parrish

In the Fall of 2014, hundreds of Cassin's Auklets started washing ashore from San Francisco up to Mendocino. A small, scrappy bird, Cassin's breed on the Farallon Islands up through the Queen Charlottes along the British Columbia coast, and winter out in the North Pacific. By the end of the calendar year, what had been an unusually high beaching rate became a full-fledged catastrophe as hundreds of thousands of these birds were tossed ashore in winter storms. From northern Oregon to Cape Flattery at the tip of the Oympic Peninsula, a literal wall of Cassin's hit the beaches. What happened?? How could so many birds have washed ashore? What does this say about the health of our coastal ecosystem?

Julia Parrish is the Executive Director of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), the largest beached bird program in the U.S. COASST data provide crucial baseline data against which any mass mortality event can be compared. Join Julia as she discusses the Cassin's event (and the mass mortality of Common Murres that followed the next year) and speculates about why and how our nearshore system is changing, and what coastal residents can do.

*CAAU is the Cassin's Auklet band code.

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