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Marbled Murrelet - Interview with Martin Raphael

A bird of two worlds...
© Rich MacIntosh View Large

The endangered Marbled Murrelet is a bird of two worlds. Martin Raphael, a biologist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, explains: "It lives in the marine world. But then it nests on the limbs of large, old trees. Its fate is tied not only to the fate of the trees, but also on marine conditions that support adequate prey. A bird that was nesting on the Olympic Peninsula was flying 60 miles up to the San Juan Islands - twice a day - to forage, and then fly back and feed the fish to the chick on the nest.

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Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Marbled Murrelet - Interview with Martin Raphael

Written by Todd Peterson

This is BirdNote.
[Call of Marbled Murrelet]
The endangered Marbled Murrelet is a bird of two worlds. Martin Raphael, a biologist with Pacific Northwest Research Station in Olympia, Washington explains:
Track 64; 2:57 It lives in the marine world…But then it nests on the limbs of large, old trees. And so, the fate of the bird is tied not only to the fate of the large trees on which it depends…but also on marine conditions that support adequate prey.
5:00 For instance, back in …2005 we had a bird that was nesting on the Olympic Peninsula… and it was flying over 60 miles up to the San Juan Islands on a daily basis, and this is twice a day, to forage around the islands and then fly back and feed the fish that it was finding to the chicks on the nest.

[Call of Marbled Murrelet]
Martin Raphael explains his fascination with Marbled Murrelets:
15:55 The Murrelet is just an intriguing bird…The first nest of a murrelet wasn’t even discovered until 1975 even though for 100 years ornithologists had been searching for it.
 It is really difficult to study because they do everything they do inland in darkness essentially…They fly into the nests at dawn and dusk, and they fly away at dawn and dusk.

He wants to know why murrelet numbers continue to decline.
15:15 Without adequate nesting habitat, the birds certainly aren’t going to persist… but it may not be enough in and of itself…There are other factors…marine conditions and predators…. Just having the forest is the start, but it may not be totally sufficient.

Raphael’s research is shedding light on the two worlds of the enigmatic Marbled Murrelet. For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.
[Calls of Marbled Murrelets]
                                        ###
Sounds of Marbled Murrelet provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  Call of Marbled Murrelet 84234 recorded by K.S. Nelson.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2011 Tune In to Nature.org     July 2011   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID# SotB-MAMU-01-2011-07-09

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