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Common Murre (Uria aalge)

Related shows:

Eagles and Murres

While the Bald Eagle may be the biggest story of conservation success in the 20th century, it's made life tough for some colonial seabirds. All the eagles have to do is soar by the cliff, and it causes panic, scaring birds off their nests. Then gulls and crows swoop in and get the eggs. The... read more »


Common Murres - Nature's Laugh Track

The raucous laughter of the Common Murre rings out from a nesting colony, high on a narrow ledge on a sea cliff. Precarious as their nest site is, Common Murres nest by the thousands along the Pacific Coast, perhaps millions north along the Bering Sea. Their eggs are pointed at one end and blunt... read more »

Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Common Murre, Underwater Flyer

The Common Murre is among the few species of birds that can "fly" under water. When above the water, the 18"-long murre must flap frantically to stay aloft. But beneath the waves, with its flipper-like wings partly extended, it is a streamlined, masterful swimmer. Common Murres, black and white... read more »


Common Murre Fathers Take Over

Imagine the nesting cliff of Common Murres, 100 feet above the ocean. Suddenly, a small murre chick, only three weeks old and just one-quarter the weight of an adult, lunges off the cliff, gliding clumsily to the water below. Soon other chicks follow, splashing into the sea. The chicks' fathers... read more »

Topics & Themes:  nesting

Seabirds and Ocean Upwelling

The breeding success of seabirds along the North Pacific coast, like these Common Murres, depends on the timing of seasonal winds. Spring winds from the Gulf of Alaska cause the upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water. But if the upwelling is delayed, seabird breeding suffers. Warmer temperatures... read more »


Lessons from a Career in Seabird Research - Interview with Julia Parrish

We asked Dr. Julia Parrish what lessons she has learned from 20 years of studying seabirds such as Common Murres. Lesson #1: Everybody can get out there and experience nature. It helps to define who you are and your part in the world. Lesson #2 is a conservation lesson. We have lots of impacts on... read more »

Topics & Themes:  science

Project Puffin - Success with Seabirds

Common Murres, like this one, disappeared from the coast of Maine in the 1880s, after years of being hunted. Since 1992, Dr. Steve Kress has been trying to coax the birds to nest there again. And the murres are coming back. In June, 2009, a pair of Common Murres nested on Matinicus Rock. It was... read more »

Topics & Themes:  science

Murres' Swimming Migration - With Bob Boekelheide

When we think of avian migration, we generally think of birds in flight. But Common Murres migrate north by swimming. Some Pacific Coast murres paddle north to the sheltered bays of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to feed on herring and other small fish. During their ocean migration, the adult male... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

Stability and Change in Nature - Interview with Julia Parrish

For two decades Julia Parrish of the University of Washington has studied the seabirds - like this Common Murre - of the Pacific Northwest Coast. What are her conclusions after 20 years? "I have been so often surprised and proved wrong. I'll have a concept or hypothesis, make a prediction about... read more »

Topics & Themes:  science

Bald Eagles and Common Murres - Interview with Julia Parrish

For 20 years, Julia Parrish of the University of Washington has been studying seabirds on the Pacific Northwest coast. During this time, the population of Bald Eagles has rebounded. What does the growing eagle population mean for Common Murres? When an eagle flies over a nesting area of murres,... read more »


The COASST Program - Interview with Julia Parrish

In the late 1990s, Julia Parrish started the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team or COASST. Julia says: "We train people to go out to their local beach and survey it. They are looking for birds that have literally washed in on the last tide. COASST offers people a chance to learn more... read more »


Point Reyes Bird Observatory

Point Reyes Bird Observatory -- now known as Point Blue Conservation Science -- works to understand how healthy ecosystems function and to reduce the harmful effects of climate change. For example, in the Farallon Islands (pictured here courtesy of Marty Knapp), scientists recorded dramatic... read more »

Topics & Themes:  sound