Many birds, notably colonial nesting seabirds, use public information (the visual, auditory, and olfactory presence of breeding conspecifics) when selecting nesting habitat. When colonies are extirpated, social cues that indicate nesting sites' quality are lost. In the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, storm-petrel populations were destroyed by introduced arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) and have been slow to return after the foxes' eradication. We tested various social-attraction techniques as a method to encourage recolonization of Leach's (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels (O. furcata) in Ulva Cove at Amatignak, a former fox-farming island. We tested attraction to playback of each species' calls by broadcasting them in various patterns adjacent to a mist net and attraction to their odors with a T-maze design. We combined these two cues to test whether birds were more likely to enter and inhabit artificial burrows depending on playback and odor treatment. Both species of storm-petrel were attracted strongly to playback of conspecific calls and somewhat to playback of heterospecific calls; Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels were attracted to conspecific odor and entered more artificial burrows when we combined odor and playback cues. We discuss the implications of these results, including the development of protocols to encourage restoration of seabird colonies in the Aleutian Islands after eradication of introduced foxes and Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus).
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Vol. 114 • No. 4