Predation on seabirds by red foxes at Shaiak Island, Alaska

Canadian Field-Naturalist



Two Red Foxes (Vulpes fulva) that invaded Shaiak Island before the 1976 nesting season had a marked impact on the nesting success of five of seven species of seabirds breeding on the island that year. Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima), Glaucous-winged Gulls (Larus glaucescens), and Common Murres (Uria aalge), that nest in areas accessible to foxes, did not raise any young to fledging. Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) were only slightly more successful; 13 (4.3%) of 300 pairs raised one or more young to fledging. Evidence suggested that 21 (35.6%) of 62 pairs of Tufted Puffins (Lunda cirrhata) lost eggs or chicks to foxes, and foxes killed at least 13 (8.3%) of 156 adult puffins on ten sample plots. Conversely, Black-Legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) and Pelagic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax pelagicus), which nested primarily on cliffs inaccessible to foxes, lost very few nests. There was no apparent change in general nest site selections by seabirds the following year, when foxes were no longer present. Any avoidance by birds of areas vulnerable to fox predation would probably be discernible only after several years of continuous predation.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Predation on seabirds by red foxes at Shaiak Island, Alaska
Series title Canadian Field-Naturalist
Volume 96
Issue 1
Year Published 1982
Language English
Publisher Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club
Contributing office(s) Western Fisheries Research Center
Description 5 p.
First page 41
Last page 45
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Shaiak Island