Monthly Archives: February 2013

Arcata Refresher Training

Having a hard time identifying a single dark wing? Forgot how to tag just a head? Getting foggy about how to handle refinds? Come join Dr. Julia Parrish for a COASST refresher in Arcata! Know someone who walks the beach that might be perfect for COASST? They are welcome too!

COASST will be hosting a refresher training March 2nd at the Arcata Library Conference Room from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. This is a great way for you to practice your bird identification skills, brush up on the survey protocol, and meet other COASST volunteers in the area. We do have a few beaches that have recently opened up, so if you know of anyone who might be interested in becoming a COASST volunteer bring them along.

Please RSVP by phone at (206)221-6893 or by email at so that we have an idea of how many folks to expect.

Upcoming HAZWOPER Training

Are you interested in in helping respond to oiled wildlife during an oil spill? If so, check out this upcoming free HAZWOPER training offered by Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. Full details can be found at

Event Name: 8-Hour Hazwoper Class – Everett 2013
Event Description:

This class is intended for citizen volunteers who are interested in helping respond to oiled wildlife during an oil spill. This is not an animal handling or care class.  The primary focus of this class is your safety as a responder.  Personal safety training will be required to participate in spill response activities associated with wildlife.  This class will satisfy the personal safety training requirement. A valid 8-hour HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response 29 CFR 1910.120) certificate will allow you to work directly with oiled wildlife. This class will satisfy the annual HAZWOPER renewal requirement if you have previously completed a HAZWOPER course and need a refresher.

Event Start Date/Time: Sat, Mar 2, 2013 8:00 AM
Event End Date/Time: Sat, Mar 2, 2013 5:00 PM
Event Meeting
Everett Community College2000 Tower St, Everett View Location Map
Event Organizer: Andy Carlson
(p) 360-902-8125
Event Category:
Oiled Wildlife Response – Oil Spill

December 2012 Dovekie Wreck in New York

In December of 2012 a bird wreck was reported along the coast of New York. The unlucky species was the dovekie, also known as the little auk. Beached dovekies were reported along the shore, in parking lots, fields and even yards. Wildlife rehabilitation centers as well as local veterinarians reported admitting record numbers of dovekies that had injuries ranging from neurological dysfunction to severe trauma. Unfortunately aquatic birds are difficult to rehabilitate as they require special housing, feeding and handling due to their adaptations for life at sea instead of on land. Of the 22 injured dovekies one wildlife rehabilitation center sheltered, only one survived to be released back into the wild.

In an effort to better understand the origin of massive bird wrecks such as this, wildlife health specialists advise recording all conditions present at the time of a wreck so that these observations can be used to better understand and predict future wrecks. One way that you can get involved in monitoring the health of your local environment is by volunteering with a wildlife health monitoring network, such as WHER. WHER stands for “Wildlife Health Event Reporter” and is an online application that allows you to report observations of questionable wildlife health in your area. For more information visit their website at

For more articles and pictures concerning the December 2012 dovekie wreck see links below!




Albatross Wisdom

*A Laysan albatross known as “Wisdom” – believed to be at
least 62 years old – has hatched a chick on Midway Atoll National Wildlife
Refuge for the sixth consecutive year.

During the morning hours on Sunday, the chick was observed pipping its way
into the world by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Pete Leary, who
said the chick appears healthy. Wisdom was first banded in 1956, when she
was incubating an egg in the same area of the refuge. She was at least five
years old at the time.

“Everyone continues to be inspired by Wisdom as a symbol of hope for her
species,” said Doug Staller, the Fish and Wildlife Service superintendent
for the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (Monument), which
includes Midway Atoll NWR.

Staff and volunteers stationed on Midway are responsible for monitoring the
health of the beautiful seabirds that arrive every year by the hundreds of
thousands to nest. Upon the seabirds’ arrival, field staff monitor them and
gather information for one of the longest and oldest continuous survey data
sets for tropical seabirds in the world.

Wisdom has worn out five bird bands since she was first banded by U.S.
Geological Survey scientist Chandler Robbins in 1956. Robbins estimated
Wisdom to be at least 5 years old at the time, since this is the earliest
age at which these birds breed. Typically, they breed at 8 or 9 years of
age after a very involved courtship lasting over several years so Wisdom
could be even older than 62.

Bruce Peterjohn, chief of the North American Bird Banding Program at the
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, MD, said Wisdom has
likely raised at least 30 to 35 chicks during her breeding life, though the
number may well be higher because experienced parents tend to be better
parents than younger breeders. Albatross lay only one egg a year, but it
takes much of a year to incubate and raise the chick. After consecutive
years in which they have successfully raised and fledged a chick, the
parents may take the occasional next year off from parenting. Wisdom is
known to have nested in 2006 and then every year since 2008.

“As Wisdom rewrites the record books, she provides new insights into the
remarkable biology of seabirds,” Peterjohn said. “It is beyond words to
describe the amazing accomplishments of this wonderful bird and how she
demonstrates the value of bird banding to better understand the world
around us. If she were human, she would be eligible for Medicare in a
couple years yet she is still regularly raising young and annually
circumnavigating the Pacific Ocean. Simply incredible.”

Sue Schulmeister, manager of the Midway Atoll NWR, said, “Wisdom is one is
one of those incredible seabirds that has provided the world valuable
information about the longevity of these beautiful creatures and reinforces
the importance of breeding adults in the population. This information helps
us measure the health of our oceans that sustain albatross.”

Almost as amazing as being a parent at 62 is the number of miles this bird
has likely logged – about 50,000 miles a year as an adult – which means
that Wisdom has flown at least 2 to 3 million miles since she was first
banded. Or, to put it another way, that’s 4 to 6 trips from the Earth to
the Moon and back again with plenty of miles to spare.

*About Albatross*

Albatross are legendary birds for many reasons – in Samuel Coleridge’s
poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” a sailor has to wear an albatross
around his neck as punishment for killing the bird. According to seafaring
legends, albatross are the souls of lost sailors and should not be killed.
However, as reported by James Cook, sailors regularly killed and ate

Albatross are remarkable fliers who travel thousands of miles on wind
currents without ever flapping their wings. They do this by angling their
6-foot wings to adjust for wind currents and varying air speeds above the

Nineteen of 21 species of albatross are threatened with extinction,
according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Present threats to the birds include lead poisoning of chicks on Midway
from lead paint used in previous decades; longline fishing, where the birds
are inadvertently hooked and drowned, though conservation groups have
banded with fishermen and dramatically lowered the number of deaths from
this cause; and pollution, especially from garbage floating on the ocean.

The birds ingest large amounts of marine debris – by some estimates 5 tons
of plastic are unknowingly fed to albatross chicks each year by their
parents. Although the plastic may not kill the chicks directly, it reduces
their food intake, which leads to dehydration and most likely lessens their
chance of survival. In addition, albatross are threatened by invasive
species such as rats and wild cats, which prey on chicks, nesting adults
and eggs. Albatross evolved on islands where land mammals were absent, so
have no defenses against them.

COASST photos from Thurgood Marshall Elementary

Here are some of the pictures took from a presentation and classroom activity by Kelsey Leigh Gordon, a former COASST intern. Thanks for the great activities.

 These are all 4th grade students from Thurgood Marshall Elementary in Seattle.
They did a short powerpoint presenation, they took notes on the three measurments, and then the kids measured 1 wing and 1 foot. A lot of kids said that this was really fun!

Marine Debris

We have been receiving some great Marine Debris photos. As of today, we have compiled a total of 3,261 images! We are continuing to move forward with this project and still need more images. Winter, with its many storms, is a great time to find debris. Your images help us to get a better idea of the many different types of debris found along our coastlines. Remember, you do not need to photograph every piece of debris. Just chose 5-10 each time you’re out on the beach and photograph them individually with your photo ruler. Here are just a few of the interesting photographs we’ve received in the last few weeks:

Marine Debris and the Tsunami

Since the Tsunami happened in Japan in March of 2011, many beachcombers have been on the lookout for debris of Japanese origins. Determining where debris originated is not always easy and not everything with Asian writing is from Japan. Many products with Japanese writing can be purchased right here in the United States and then quickly find their way to a beach by a careless beach goer.

We have received many photos of marine debris that includes Asian writing. In order to get a better idea about this debris, we’ve turned to Summer Wang, a COASST intern who is fluent in several languages. The following is her analysis.

These three photos are taken on different beaches by COASST volunteers, yet all of them came from the same company in China–one of the most popular manufacturers for food and drinks. Their products have been exported to different countries for years, and most of them can be bought in  Chinatowns or Asian stores here in the US.

Jasmine Tea Bottle

This photo is a milky tea drink bottle, also from a big company in China. Their products include all kinds of coffee or tea, and also can be found in most of the Asian store.

This container is a strong deep cleaner; a product from a Taiwan company called Johnson Diversey. This company is a big global manufacturer particularly in cleaning products. Their headquarters is located in Wisconsin State.

The following container is a Japanese cookie.

Although, most of the Asian writing looks similar to westerners, a closer look can reveal where they originated from and how they might have ended up on the beach.