What is it about?

Tracking evidence of species restoration can improve best practices and management outcomes. Seabirds are globally threatened and respond positively to restoration. The study is a global synthesis of all reported seabird translocation and social attraction restoration efforts, which spans nearly 70 years and over 850 efforts across 36 countries, targeting 138 seabird species–roughly one-third of all seabirds worldwide. These restoration actions and their outcomes were cataloged in a newly created Seabird Restoration Database (www.seabirddatabase.org), to serve as a guide for future best practices to recover seabirds. We also analyzed the success of these seabird restoration efforts, finding the outcomes largely positive–within an average of 2 years from a project’s start, 80 percent of projects resulted in visitation by the target seabird at the restoration site, and 76 percent of these seabirds achieved breeding. These outcomes demonstrate the efficacy of restoration actions for recovering seabird populations and the database provides a baseline for tracking conservation progress.

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Why is it important?

Seabirds are one of the most threatened bird groups on the planet with approximately 30 percent of species at enhanced risk of extinction, primarily due to threats from invasive predators at breeding sites, habitat loss, and harmful fishing practices. Climate change poses yet another challenge, as sea-level rise and increasing storms can flood low-lying seabird breeding habitat. These threats have prompted conservationists to relocate or restore nesting seabirds by physically translocating birds from one nesting site to another, or attracting them using seabird social cues to more secure breeding sites. Using social attraction methods like decoys and broadcasted bird sounds, conservationists can create the appearance of a thriving seabird colony at key locations, attracting new pairs of birds to safely nest together in large numbers.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Tracking the global application of conservation translocation and social attraction to reverse seabird declines, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2214574120.
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