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Two sea gulls fight over a herring on the surface of the water

Protecting Marine Birds

The highly productive waters and shores of British Columbia’s coast support an incredible diversity and density of marine life.  Vast numbers of marine birds use these areas for critical activities such as breeding, foraging, wintering and migration.

It is estimated that nearly 6 million individuals from 15 or so seabird species breed locally.  The coast is also a portion of the Pacific Flyway, a major corridor for millions of migratory birds travelling to and from breeding grounds in the Arctic and elsewhere in the continent. Long distance migrants that may breed elsewhere in the world, such as albatrosses and shearwaters, are found offshore in significant numbers.

Conservation Concerns

Despite their multitudes, many marine bird species on our coast are of great conservation concern. Some populations are known or are suspected to be experiencing declines. Major knowledge gaps exist for marine birds at sea, particularly during seasons other than summer and for North and Central coast waters. This lack of information is a large concern as threats to marine birds are numerous and often interactive.

Protecting marine birds through science & advocacy

Bird surveys cover

To address these knowledge gaps, Raincoast undertook extensive at-sea marine bird surveys between 2005  and 2008. We surveyed thousands of kilometers and amassed nearly 20,000 marine bird sightings with over 100,000 individuals counted in more than 70 species.


Support Raincoast’s Work to Protect the Marine Birds of British Columbia

Marine birds in the Queen Charlotte Basin, BC coast, waters of the Great Bear Rainforest

British Columbia’s marine birds face many threats

  • chronic and catastrophic oil spills
  • oil extraction and development
  • fisheries conflict
  • contaminants and pollutants
  • marine debris
  • introduced predators
  • wind turbines
  • habitat loss, degradation and disturbance
  • climate change
  • food supply change

Marine bird conservation news

A Humpback whale fin is visible above the surface of the ocean.

Ecological legacy of coastal B.C. hangs in the balance

British Columbia’s north and central coast, also known as the Great Bear Rainforest, along with Haida Gwaii, hosts a uniquely ...
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Maps of marine birds distributions and densities overlaid onto a tufted puffin.

Predictions from machine learning ensembles: marine bird distribution and density on Canada’s Pacific coast

In February of 2017, a team of researchers from five research facilities published their findings in Marine Ecology Progress Series: ...
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Coastal bird populations and Big Oil

Times Colonist May 7, 2017: An excerpt from the book "At Sea With the Marine Birds of the Raincoast" by Caroline ...
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Marine Birds of the Raincoast by Caroline Fox

At Sea with the Marine Birds of the Raincoast

Recently released by Rocky Mountain Books, the nonfiction book At Sea with the Marine Birds of the Raincoast shares the ...
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Seagull flies low over the water touch their feet onto the orange sunset surface.

Marine birds and chronic oil pollution on Canada’s Pacific coast

Chronic oil pollution poses substantial risks to marine birds and other marine wildlife worldwide. On Canada's Pacific coast, the negative ...
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A dark morph Northern fulmar flies over the blue gray waters of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of BC.

At Sea with the Marine Birds of the Raincoast

Recently released by Rocky Mountain Books, the nonfiction book At Sea with the Marine Birds of the Raincoast shares the ...
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The early bird catches the herring

Seaside Times April 2011 The Early Bird Catches The Herring By Chris Genovali, Executive Director, Raincoast Conservation Foundation Caroline Fox ...
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Marine bird talk by Caroline Fox

Wednesday, October 27   7:30 pm Victoria Natural History Society Rm 159 Fraser Building, University of Victoria Admission is free. Everyone ...
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Raincoast at the World Seabird Conference

By Caroline Fox The first ever World Seabird Conference was held last week in Victoria (September 7-11, 2010). Over 800 ...
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Review process fatally flawed

Kitimat Northern Sentinel July 22, 2009 Chris Genovali Re: “Channel Watch demands inquiry” (Sentinel, July 8), the federal government’s joint ...
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