[midvalleybirds] Fwd: Yaquina Head nesting report

clearwater at peak.org clearwater at peak.org
Wed Jul 31 15:49:19 PDT 2019

Not in the "mid-valley" but this is that time of year when a lot of people like to go out to Newport. 

This study has been going on for quite a few years. This year's news is encouraging compared with recent years. 

Happy reading, 

From: Range Bayer <range.bayer at gmail.com> 
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2019 21:13:52 -0700 
Subject: [obol] OSU Seabird Oceanography Lab: 2019 Yaquina Head Murre Monitorin 

---------- Forwarded message --------- 
From: Porquez, Jessica <porquezj at oregonstate.edu> 
Date: Tue, Jul 30, 2019 at 8:57 PM 
Subject: 2019 Yaquina Head Murre Monitoring Update #2 
To: Orben, Rachael <Rachael.Orben at oregonstate.edu> 
Hello again everyone! 

Monitoring is still underway at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and 
we are excited to report that many common murre chicks are now roaming 
around the rock. As of July 25th, 135 nests (of 229 throughout the season) 
still had chicks. Within the first week of July, a total of 76 chicks were 
observed from the monitored colonies. The first chick was recorded on the 1 
st, while the youngest of our sample was observed during the 4th week of 
July. Fledglings are now calling -- audible even through the cacophony of 
adult calls -- and are coming close to getting ready to jump off the rocks 
and into the water. We look forward to summarizing and reporting fledging 
success in our next update. 

Our first chick provisioning watch was on July 11. During this watch 12 
nests with chicks were monitored from sunrise to sunset to record the 
frequency and composition of chick feeds. Various types of prey were 
brought back to the chicks including smelt, large juvenile herring, 
flatfish, and squid. The average temperate of 64 oF and average winds of 
0.6 N seemed like optimal conditions for the murres to grab some breakfast, 
lunch, and dinner for their young; activity and provisioning frequency far 
surpassed watches over the last handful of years, with a total of 51 
feedings (about 3.18 feeds/hour) over the course of the day. 

The second chick provisioning watch (July 18) seemed slower compared to the 
first (22 total feeds, about 1.38/hour). The average temperature was 62.05 o 
F with average wind speeds of 4.7 N compared to the first watch. Notably, 
there was little to no wind most of the morning and early afternoon. 
Observers noted that there was more territorial behavior and prey being 
taken by surrounding murres when adults returned with fish. Anecdotally, 
there were more scuffles whenever food was brought back as well when chicks 
would wander too close to other nearby nests. Despite lower feeding rates 
than the first watch, both watches in 2019 had higher provisioning 
frequency than the preceding five years (2014-2017 = near or total breeding 

In keeping with seasonal observed activity over previous years, predatory 
disturbances (mainly from bald eagles) seemed to have slowed down during 
the regular monitoring sessions as well as the sunrise to sunset chick 
monitoring sessions. There have been several instances during the month of 
July where monitors have noted the absence of either eggs, chicks, or 
entire nests upon arrival at the colony, but the event(s) and primary 
predator(s) were not observed. A few, mainly unsuccessful, disturbance 
events were observed during the second chick provisioning watch, as well as 
the regularly scheduled monitored days that followed it. Unsuccessful 
disturbances are classified by a predator (gulls or eagles) landing on the 
colony, or an attempt to grab a bird from the rock that results in an 
unsuccessful take of an adult, egg, or chick. 

The Brandt’s cormorants (BRAC) nests have all hatched. Chick ages vary, but 
most are now several weeks old; some are showing the emergence of pin 
feathers in their wings, while others are close to fledging! The total 
number of Brandt’s cormorants with active nests are 35 while the pelagic 
cormorants (PECO) have a total of 29 nests active. 

We at the Seabird Oceanography Lab are delighted to share with you the 
status of the common murres here at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. 
We’ll keep you all informed on developments for the remainder of the season 
with another update as we wrap up our monitoring effort. Thanks for your 
continued interest! 


Robert Vargas 
Cassidy Turner 
Ray Martin 
Jane Dolliver 

Jessica Porquez 
Rachael Orben 

*Jessica Porquez * 
*Faculty Research Assistant | **Seabird Oceanography Lab *[ 
https://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/research-labs/seabird-oceanography-lab ] 
*Department of Fisheries and Wildlife * 
*Hatfield Marine Science Center **| **Oregon State University* 
*2030 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, OR, 97365* 

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