The Marbled Murellet – a small, puffin-like bird with a short bill, long wings and short tails – is native only to the Pacific Coast of North America. Because of its declining numbers, it is an Audubon Watchlist bird and is listed as Threatened under the Environmental Species Act in California, Oregon, and Washington.
In response to a recent petition to delist the bird in California, Oregon, and Washington, Audubon California joined with state Audubon programs in the other two states to call upon the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to not only reject a petition to remove federal protections for the threatened Marbled Murrelet in California, Oregon and Washington, but actually to upgrade protections for the coastal seabird instead. We were successful in convincing the Service to retain the bird’s protected status, but not in upgrading it.
What makes the Marbled Murrelet unique is that it is the only seabird to breed on land in old-growth forests. Its unusual breeding habits made it one of the last North American birds to have their nests discovered. These birds face a powerful triumvirate of threats – logging, gill-net mortality, and oil spills – and have experienced dramatic recent population declines.