Now that shorebird surveying is over…Common Murre monitoring begins! I will be observing and recording disturbances (typically from eagles) and the nests of these seabirds during these last three months of my internship. My efforts are contributing to a 14-year study on Common Murres by Oregon State University’s Seabird Oceanography Lab. Additionally, the research provides the former Environment for the Americas (EFTA) intern, Stephanie Loredo, with data to complete her M.S. in Wildlife Science. From today’s observations, we saw two birds incubating at Flat Top Rock, one of two locations we will observe (the other is Colony Rock). Did I mention that I am looking over these rocks from the railing of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, only about 85 feet high? The incubation season will slowly pick up, and the predation will continue. On a typical morning, an eagle swoops in and snatches an adult murre which causes a flush of birds to leave the rocks and leaves the blueish to brownish eggs exposed for Western Gulls or Common Ravens to break and eat. I must annotate the details of these reoccurring events on my data log, and look for the nests in different plots.
2014 EFTA Intern