Friends of Cooper Island
Sponsor A Nest
The Black Guillemot colony on Cooper Island has been studied annually since 1975, providing dramatic evidence of the effects of rapid decreases in snow and ice cover in northern Alaska due to increasing atmospheric temperatures. Guillemots on Cooper Island traditionally have bred in wooden nest sites, most created by George Divoky in the 1970s. After recent major reductions in the extent of Arctic sea ice in summer began forcing polar bears to swim to land, polar bears have destroyed guillemot nest boxes and eaten eggs and nestlings, reducing breeding success on Cooper Island to near zero by 2009.

nest box chartHard plastic cases tested in 2010 protected nestlings from visiting bears and in the coming year, all 200 wooden nest boxes previously used by the guillemots are being replaced with bear-proof plastic cases. The increase in breeding success in 2011 was dramatic. (See chart at right.)
You can sponsor a nest box for one year with your minimum donation of $100, helping us with our continuing research of the Black Guillemot colony during a period of unprecedented environmental change and development in the Alaskan Arctic. 
Benefits of Sponsorship
  • Adoption of a specific nest site
  • Periodic emails informing you of the of the background of the banded pair breeding in the nest site and the status of their eggs and nestlings
  • Pictures of your nest site and its parents and nestlings
  • Shout-outs on the Friends of Cooper Island and Adventures in Climate Change websites and our Facebook pages
  • An excellent teaching aid for an school class or individual child
  • The positive feeling that comes from knowing you are helping a long-term study continue

Video of polar bear trying to get into one of our new plastic nest cases, which were donated by Nanuk Protective Cases.
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