This past Tuesday, I started working with Oregon State University at the Seabird Oceanography Lab! The research that I’m helping with focuses on monitoring Common Murres. Common Murres are seabirds that nest off of Yaquina Head, and in past years they have had poor nesting success. This is because they are often disturbed and preyed upon by Bald Eagles. In order to determine the nesting success of the murres, we monitor disturbances by eagles and other birds as well as take photographs of specific nesting sites. Once the murres begin nesting on the rocks, we monitor eggs and chicks to determine how successful their nests were.
On the days we monitor, we try to arrive before sunrise. So far, the murres have yet to settle on the rocks, most likely because there have always been Bald Eagles and gulls close by or resting on the nesting rocks. Even so, there is still time for them to settle down so we are staying hopeful. An amazing highlight of monitoring so early in the morning has been spotting orcas and gray whales!! It was so exciting and memorable that I couldn’t help but shout for joy! Hopefully we see more as we continue to monitor the birds.
I also went back to park ranger duties on Friday, which was a gorgeous day for tide pooling! It was also the perfect day to see wildlife, since most of the seal moms and pups could be easily spotted. We also had an elephant seal on the beach, so we had to close off a good portion of the area to minimize any contact or disturbance by visitors. To finish off my work week, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Cape Perpetua International Migratory Bird Day with my fellow interns Gabie, Jasmine and Jhonny! We had a wonderful time and it was also a beautiful sunny day, perfect for bird walks, bird crafts and conservation pledges. Here’s hoping for more weeks like this one!