The First Egg!

The first egg of the 2018 breeding season was laid on June 24th by White-Black-Gray.  She fledged from Cooper Island in 1995 and has lived through a period of major climate change in the Arctic. Hoping she, and the other 150 guillemots in the colony, have a successful breeding season!

The somewhat bad news is that the Audubon cover girl is not back.  While I have not been able to ascertain survival for all nests, it appears that the percentage of birds returning will be similar to last year: 20 to 25 percent.  The high mortality again has surviving birds pairing with neighbors since there are almost no nonbreeding birds to recruit.  Colony size will likely drop but, again, the amount is unknown now.

I’m still working out camp logistics and hoping the rest of the snow is gone soon so I can finish setting up camp.

George’s “Cover Girl,” featured here on a December cover of Audubon Magazine, didn’t return to Cooper Island this year. Image Credit: Peter Mather for Audubon