Lights, cameras find no raccoon action on Englefield islands

Biologists have welcome news for seabirds in Englefield Bay.

An ancient murrelet and a mouse are capture dining on the same bait on Helgesen Island by an infrared camera that was set up as part of a Bird Studies Canada project to identify invasive species on five islands that provide key seabird habitat in Englefield Bay.

Biologists have welcome news for seabirds in Englefield Bay.

Scattered with small islands, the west coast bay harbours a globally habitat for nesting seabirds such as ancient murrelets, Cassin’s auklets and Leach’s storm petrels.

From May to September, a team from the non-profit Bird Studies Canada posted motion-triggered night cameras on five Englefield Bay islands to see if raccoons, rats, or other invaders were preying on the birds.

“All the interesting seabirds came along and we didn’t find any raccoons, which is good news,” says Dr. David Bradley, the B.C. program manager for Bird Studies Canada.

Bradley said the night cameras did spot some mice, but they may be a native species.

Bradley cautioned that they cannot be 100 per cent sure the islands are free of raccoons without using hundreds more cameras, but said it’s unlikely.

He and colleague Karen Devitt also used a spotlight to search the islands shores for raccoons and found none.

On nearby Moresby Island, the same technique revealed dozens of racoons scavenging on the shoreline.

“Some of the islands are too far off the west coast to really be reachable by raccoons,” said Bradley, noting that the team chose the five islands Lihou, Helgesen, Saunders, Carswell and Instructor partly because earlier Canadian Wildlife Service studies showed their seabird colonies in decline.

The entire Englefield Bay area is also listed internationally as an Important Bird Area one of 20 on Haida Gwaii.

Bradley said the work this summer is part of a three-year project to study the impact of invasive species on seabirds outside Gwaii Haanas, and the group has an Environment Canada grant for two more years.

“We’re trying to put some extra dollars on the table, because we understand that funding is always limited for work like this,” said Bradley.

The Bird Studies Canada research is supported by the Council of Haida Nation and BC Parks, and the team is also working closely with the Laskeek Bay Conservation Society.


Just Posted

Pitching a plateau trail between Skidegate and Queen Charlotte

Taking the “high way” between Skidegate and Queen Charlotte may never be… Continue reading

Islands leaders optimistic about restored ferry sailings

BC Ferries won’t run an evening walk-on ferry to Sandspit, but local… Continue reading

Fishing Haida Gwaii: Naked as a coho, happy as a fish jump

By Darrell Oike Haawa for all the fish caught this week. It… Continue reading

Sandspit looks set to try public school bus

Sandspit high school students may soon get to and from the Alliford… Continue reading

Committee to advise on potential merger of Masset schools

Haida Gwaii school trustees will get advice from a special public committee… Continue reading

Haida animator wins first festival award for The Mountain of SG̱aana

Cruising to fish one morning on the Silver Shadow, a bored skipper… Continue reading

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

Silver Creek reacts after remains found, man arrested

Neighbours of property where remains were found say man arrested was sweet and polite

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Most Read