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IMBD 2004 Art
Art copyright Ram Papish

Conserving Colonial Birds

The IMBD 2004 theme explored the fascinating variety and habits of colonial birds, as well as the conservation issues for these birds. See the 2004 Theme Overview, a general discussion of coloniality and an explanation of the 2004 artwork.

Fact Sheet

Download (and feel free to copy!) "Which Birds Are Colonial?" Fact Sheet

Relevant on-line references

North Carolinaís Colonial Waterbirds
Colonial Birds of U.S. Great Lakes
Seabirds of the St. Lawrence, Quebec, Canada

And just one example of a website that offers accounts for bird species:
University of Michigan Animal Diversity

Student Activities

Stations To Teach About Coloniality
This Word file describes three activity stations (a sorting game, a "jeopardy" game, and a display) which could be used to introduce students to the lifestyles of colonial-nesting birds.

"Living with Cormorants"
Take a look at this "Living with Wildlife" children's activity sheet created by Wildlife Services that take a balanced look at the issues associated with the increasing populations of this colonial bird. Could also be used for developing student debates and dialogues on a "real-life" issue -- great teaching tools.
(Sheets for other wildlife species are found at the bottom of the Wildlife Services Publications page).

Foxes and Kittiwakes
Download instructions for this active game which illustrates predator/prey relationships and the adaptive significance of nesting in colonies. Taken from: Learn About Seabirds, Curriculum & Teacherís Guide (Grades 4-6), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Region, Anchorage.


Fish Out of Water (Puffins) Each summer, Atlantic puffins return to Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge, in the Gulf of Maine, to raise their young. This video is an intimate look into the lives of these colorful seabirds, and includes the first-ever-recorded-scenes of Maine coast puffins feeding and raising a chick inside a rock burrow. Beautiful footage. See Project Puffin Website for more information and clips. For all ages, though not likely to hold the attention of young children.
55 minutes
Contact producer Daniel Breton, Ganglion Films (P.O. Box 1147, Old Chelsea Station, NYC, NY 10113-1147) Write

Where the Heron Finds Its Home. North America's elegant Great Blue Heron is being discovered by biologists to be a remarkably sensitive indicator of the state of our wetlands. If herons are abundant, the wetlands they inhabit form a healthy ecosystem. Developed for grade levels: 5-12, College, Adult. Produced by Len Gilday for CBC's "The Nature of Things" Released 1996.
46 minutes (2 parts for classrooms: 17/29)
Closed Captioned
Rent or purchase from

Off the Hook: An informational video for longline fishermen in Alaska. For fishermen, but also good general education about seabirds and bycatch.
3 segments, approximately 24 minutes total.
Downloadable directly from the website:

Restoring Balance: Removing the Black Rat from Anacapa Island This video documents an innovative project aimed at removing the black rat from Anacapa Island, thereby restoring balance to a critical habitat for seabirds and other island resources for generations to come. All ages.
11:30 minutes
American Trader video, available from the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office. Contact Carol Gorbics at (760) 431-9440.

Returning Home: Bringing the Common Murre Back to Devilís Slide Rock A 1986 oil spill along the central California coastline devastated a breeding colony of Common Murres on Devilís Slide Rock, a small seastack near Pacifica, 15 miles south of San Francisco. Using mirrors, decoys, and recording of murre vocalizations to simulate an active murre colony, scientists are attracting these diving seabirds back to their former home. The dramatic success of this project has important implications for future seabird restoration projects.
24 minutes. Captioned.
Apex Houston video, available from the San Francisco Bay NWR Complex. Contact Gerry McChesney at (510)792-0717 X222.

The following two videos are USFWS productions. One free copy may be requested from the USFWS National Conservation Training Center Library. Write Additional copies can be obtained from Video Transfer, Inc. (5800 Arundel Avenue, Rockville, MD 20852). Phone: (301) 881-0270, Fax: (301) 770-9131

Do Your Part - Wetlands for Kids This video, developed for 4-6th grades, takes three students on an adventure through a wetland. They discover the importance of wetlands, why they are disappearing, and what students can do to help protect wetlands. The accompanying teacher's guide describes post-viewing activities to enhance the video's effectiveness. It recommends classroom and outdoor activities to provide "hands-on" learning. 1993
20:00 minutes
($13 plus postage from Video Transfer)

Making Waves Ė Why Care About the Gulf of Mexico Filled with beautiful nature scenes and practical suggestions, this video is for teenagers and their families to explain why the Gulf of Mexico is such a valuable resource, why it is in trouble and what we can do to make a difference. No direct reference to colonial birds, though several appear in the footage.
21 minutes Captioned.
($14 plus postage from Video Transfer)

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Revised March 1, 2005