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Ashy Storm-petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa)
About 50% of the world's population of the rare Ashy Storm-petrel breed on the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge islands.
About fifty percent of the world’s population of the rare Ashy Storm-petrel (listed as a Species of Management Concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature) breeds on the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge islands. Unfortunately, the presence of introduced, non-native house mice threatens this globally significant seabird colony. Ashy Storm-petrels on the Farallones declined by 40% from 1972-1992. A Population Viability Analysis (assessing the ability of a population to survive over time) conducted in the mid-1990s found that predation alone could account for the observed population decline in Ashy Storm-petrels.
 
In addition to Ashy Storm-petrels, the Farallon Islands are home to 12 other species of breeding seabirds. Combined, more than 300,000 individuals of seabirds depend on these islands, accounting for 25% of California's breeding seabirds—the largest seabird breeding colony in the United States outside of Alaska and Hawai`i. 

Birds of Southeast Farallon Island from Abe Borker on Vimeo.

The Farallon Islands sit at the Continental Shelf’s edge, where the ocean floor plunges from 300 feet to more than two miles deep. This change creates perfect conditions for ocean upwelling. Cold-water upwelling produces an abundance of nutrients and krill, which provide food for marine fish, birds, and mammals. The islands support five species of marine mammals, an endemic salamander and an endemic cricket. Great White Sharks, several whale species and other marine creatures forage in the surrounding waters. 

The removal of invasive mice from the South Farallon Islands will help restore the islands’ ecosystem by providing safer habitat for native animal and plant species, such as the Ashy Storm-petrel, Farallon Arboreal Salamander and Farallon Camel Cricket. Increases in native seabird populations, particularly storm-petrels, and salamanders and invertebrates are expected as a result of this proposed project.

Learn more about this project at www.restorethefarallones.org

Thumbnail photo by Annie Schmidt.

Endangered Ashy Storm-petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa). Photo by Annie Schmidt.

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