This week I submitted the second update to the Newport community regarding the Common Murre research in the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (YHONA), which I’ve provided below.
Bald Eagle predation has persisted in YHONA, leading to the abandonment of hundreds of eggs and the arrival of secondary predators such as the Western Gull, Common Raven, or American Crow to feast. The new record high for Bald Eagles in one disturbance is ten; four adults and six sub-adults were observed at Colony Rock, suggesting only two families of Bald Eagles reside in the area. Western Gull presence has reached all-time heights; 136 were observed last week at Colony Rock. The number of observed nesting birds in our reproductive plots has decreased due to this ongoing stress. A total of 105 nests were lost since the last update, and only 10 nesting birds remained from the 12 original plots.
Due to this setback, additional reproductive plots were added to the overall study. These reproductive plots have not been disturbed as extensively, and we expect to see murre chicks in the upcoming days. These plots are located in areas with high concentrations of murres. We are now following a total of 30 nests at Flat Top and 42 nests at Colony Rock, including the plots surrounding Colony Rock where the highest concentration of murres is located.
In other news, monitoring efforts of cormorants have been ongoing. The first cormorant chick was spotted on Whale Rock, located on the north side of Yaquina Head! Brandt’s Cormorant nests have been observed more frequently in comparison to the pelagic; we are currently monitoring 54 Brandt’s Cormorant and 29 Pelagic Cormorant nests. Chicks have been spotted in seven nests total. We have also observed several cormorants building nests to lay their eggs. Stay tuned for the next update!
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