a pair of black-footed albatrosses looking at each othter on the beach, more can be seen resting on the beach in the background

Every year, albatrosses like this pair of black-footed albatrosses in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument travel miles and miles -- some ending up in West Coast sanctuaries like Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary! As they make their journey from breeding to feeding grounds, they forage for fish at the ocean's surface. But with plastics littering our sea, many albatrosses wind up ingesting bits of plastic rather than fish -- and may even regurgitate some of that plastic to feed their young. The Winged Ambassadors curriculum helps teach students how to track albatross migration and how we can all help reduce marine debris. (Photo: Mark Sullivan/NOAA)

Not all animals in national marine sanctuaries live in the water. Birds are among the most visible elements of biodiversity in the marine environment. By tracking bird populations, scientists can better understand the state and health of the marine ecosystems that our communities and economies depend on.