Last month ICS staff and volunteers and partners attended practical field training in seabird GPS tagging and data collection. Designed to enhance conservation outcomes for Seychelles’ important bird species, the data is already yielding results.
Conducting this training in the field at the height of Brown Noddy and Sooty Tern breeding season gave participants the opportunity to track movements and feeding behaviours of live birds. One interesting observation was that the Brown Noddys in this study conducted shorter, more frequent sorties to find food while incubating. This contrasted with a general pattern of longer but more occasional foraging trips of Sooty Terns.
The eager participants retained their enthusiasm from start to finish and realised practical skills in tagging, tracking, downloading and interpreting foraging behaviour data - which is vital to the ongoing conservation of these iconic seabird species and central to the Outer Island Project objectives.
This training was designed to minimise handling and disturbance to the birds. Participants were able to complete the entire procedure in under five minutes, and to observe the birds returning very quickly to their normal incubating behaviour.
Whilst Aride Island was chosen to conduct the course due to its accessibility, the skills learned will now be shared and soon in use on the other outer islands, namely Desroches, Poivre, Alphonse and Farquhar groups, all of which are home to large and globally important seabird colonies.