512x218 RHAU flock Peter Hodum



  • Rhinoceros Auklet

    List-RHAU-Cathie Barron

    During breeding season a distinctive "horn" on a bright orange beak makes the rhinoceros auklet a very recognizable bird. The sandy bluffs of Protection Island provide the ideal habitat in which the auklets create their nest burrows. The surrounding waters provide fertile fishing grounds where these crepuscular hunters gorge themselves on sandlance and herring. As one of only eight islands in North America where rhinoceros auklets breed, Protection Island is very important to the survival of this species.

  • Pigeon Guillemot


    The pigeon guillemot is a small black seabird with a white wing patch and bright orange feet. They are one of Washington's most widespread seabirds. They aren't picky when it comes to nesting and will build their nests in driftwood, grassy areas, or burrows in dirt cliffs. The Refuge provides a wide variety of these habitats from which they may choose.

  • Tufted Puffin


    The tufted puffin is distinguished by its bulbous orange beak, white face mask, blonde forehead plumes, and black body.  The sandy soils of Protection Island provide ample room for excavating nesting burrows where puffin parents tend to just one egg.  Unlike rhinoceros auklets, tufted puffins search for fish during the day, returning to their burrow to feed the lone nestling until it fledges.  

  • Pelagic Cormorant


    The pelagic cormorant has a glossy black plumage with an iridescent sheen of green and violet.  In breeding season white flank patches may be spotted while the bird is in flight. Protection Island still supports a breeding population, but has historically supported a much larger colony of these cormorants.  Recent years have seen a decline in the population for unknown reasons.

  • Glaucous-winged Gull

    List-GWGU log-Davis

    Glaucous-winged gulls are among the largest gull species.  These gulls are characterized by a white head, chest and tail with a gray back and wings; along with a yellow beak and pink legs.  Protection Island is home to the largest glaucous-winged gull colony in the Salish Sea. The gulls hide their nests in the divots and hillocks on the island to evade predation by bald eagles.