While Monterey Bay is an important feeding and nesting area for our more than 90 species of marine birds, conservation issues such as entanglement in human-made debris continues to kill wildlife. Recently, we have had several reports of entangled wildlife in our bay. In the case of a Western Grebe the story had a happy ending; the bird was rescued by Erica Donnelly-Greenan after a member of the public reported the injured bird on New Brighton State Beach in Aptos. Erica was able to carefully capture the bird and bring it to the Native Animal Rescue in Santa Cruz for treatment.
In the case of the more rare Black-footed Albatross, the ending was not happy. During the 2013 June beach survey on remote Zmudowski State Beach in Monterey County, Beach COMBERS (Coastal Ocean Mammal / Bird Education and Research Surveys) volunteers Chris Miller and Patty Brown found a dead Black-footed Albatross that obviously was entangled in strings from a bunch of party balloons.
What can be done? People can reduce the impact on the sanctuary’s wildlife this summer by packing out all food scraps and garbage that they bring to the beach and take care not to release balloons or fishing line, which may entangle marine birds, mammals and sea turtles that frequent our bay.