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Año Nuevo Island

Seabird Conservation
and Habitat Restoration


Oikonos is working with a team of ecologists, habitat restoration experts, artists, designers and land managers to restore degraded habitat for nesting seabirds on Año Nuevo Island, California. In addition, Oikonos and partners continue the impressive 23 year program to monitor the health of breeding seabirds in the Reserve and their oceanic environment.

More Info


In 2015, Oikonos led the 23rd consecutive year of seabird studies at Año Nuevo State Park (initiated by the Park and PRBO Conservation Science in 1993).


Protection: To protect the seabird nesting area from destructive trampling by California sea lions, we designed an innovative Habitat Ridge.

Nest Modules: To provide stable and low maintenance Rhinoceros Auklet nesting sites, we designed and produced 90 clay nest modules. More info.

Restoration: To stabilize the burrowing habitat for Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets and improve nesting success, we installed over 15,000 native coastal grasses and shrubs.

Seabird Population and Reproduction Studies: To document long-term seabird health, we documented the breeding population size and reproductive success of 8 breeding seabird species.

Success of Habitat Restoration:

  • a reduction in burrow collapse due to erosion (6% of burrows were damaged in 2012, compared to an average damage rate of 25% before planting from 1997-2010), and
  • an increase in plant cover (native plants in restoration plots ranged from 12 to 79%)

The Cassin’s Auklet population continued to grow rapidly, with a new record of breeding birds.

Rhinoceros Auklet breeding population was relatively stable with an increase in the number nesting in natural burrows in the restoration area.

Publications & Papers

juvenile_salmon_RHAU diet

Temporal and Sex-Specific Variability in Rhinoceros Auklet Diet in the Central California Current System

Carle R., Beck J., Calleri D., and Hester M. 2015. Journal of Marine Systems 146:99-108.

Año Nuevo State Park Seabird Conservation and Habitat Restoration:Report 2014

Carle, R., Beck, J., Calleri, D, Hester, M. 2014. Unpublished report to CA Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Año Nuevo Island. Oikonos – Ecosystem Knowledge.

Extremely Wild and Very Smelly, Año Nuevo Island Restoration

Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 2013

Año Nuevo Island: Where the Wild Things Are

San Francisco Chronicle, 17 July, 2009.

Contact Project Leaders

Michelle Hester, Ryan Carle, Jessie Beck