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Monthly Program – May 2024

May 6 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


“Pelagic Birding off Southern California: Searching for Seabirds in the Open Ocean”

by David Pereksta

Nazca Booby Copyright David Pereksta

 While 70 percent of the earth is covered by oceans, the lives of the birds that inhabit those waters still hold a number of mysteries that science is only just starting to unravel. Many seabirds come ashore only to breed and then spend the majority of their lives ranging around the world’s oceans; some of which travel incredible distances during foraging trips and migratory movements. The waters offshore of southern California are one of the last birding frontiers in the state, where an exciting mix of seabirds that are rarely if ever seen from land can be found at sea if you know when, where, and how to look for them. A limited number of trips, unpredictable weather, and challenging viewing conditions make pelagic birding trips an adventurous way to explore this frontier. Birders wishing to see these special birds must find some of the few scheduled trips each year, get a reservation before they sell-out, and hope that the weather and birds cooperate.

David Pereksta took his first pelagic trip in 1994, which was a major birding-life changing event. That trip was the start of David’s fascination with seabirds and since then he has spent a considerable amount of time at sea looking for them. With hundreds of days on the water in the Pacific and Atlantic, and trips to remote breeding areas in Russia and the South Pacific, David has immersed himself in understanding the lives of seabirds. David will show us what experiences southern California pelagic birding trips offer including the species that occur off our coast, how the status and distribution of many species have changed recently, where local pelagic trips go and how they operate, and how to best schedule a trip to see the birds (and marine mammals) you are looking for. He will also share anecdotes from some of the most memorable local trips. Bring your soda crackers, Dramamine, and binoculars for this program that is richly illustrated with the best of the thousands of photos David has taken at sea.

David Pereksta is an Avian Biologist with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, where he studies and analyzes the effects of offshore oil and gas, and renewable energy development on birds off the Pacific coast and Hawaii. Prior to his position at BOEM, Dave spent 16 years working on endangered species issues with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Throughout his career with various Federal and State agencies, he has studied several imperiled bird species including Snowy Plovers, Piping Plovers, Least Terns, Ospreys, Northern Goshawks, Brown Pelicans, Spotted Owls, and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. An avid birder for over 45 years, Dave has traveled throughout North America, South America, the American tropics, the South Pacific, and East Asia including leading trips to Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Peru, and Chile. He also organizes pelagic trips off southern California and leads trips elsewhere in the Pacific and in the Atlantic. He has seen over 2,300 species of birds in his travels; photographing nearly 1,800 species along the way.

The May program will be live at Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology. The meeting starts at 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:30. It will also available via Zoom. The link is, as always, https://zoom.us/j/6155249106.


May 6
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology
439 Calle San Pablo
Camarillo, CA 93012
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