Marbled Murrelet

Bird Alliance of Oregon has worked for decades to protect and recover the Marbled Murrelet, a small seabird which spends most of its life at sea but comes ashore to nest in mature and old growth forests. The plight of the Marbled Murrelet is synonymous with decades of industrial logging that have devastated the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

A photo of a Marbled Murrelet flying low over the water.
Marbled Murrelet, photo by Robin Corcoran/USFWS

History of Recovery and Threats to the Marbled Murrelet

In 1988, Bird Alliance of Oregon commissioned a status review written by Biologist, David B. Marshall that provided the basis for listing the Marbled Murrelet under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Bird Alliance of Oregon subsequently petitioned and sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Marbled Murrelet, resulting in the designation of the species as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act in 1992. The species was also listed as threatened under the Oregon Endangered Species Act in 1995.

Since its listing, the Marbled Murrelet has moved closer to extinction in Oregon. While the Northwest Forest Plan (adopted in 1994) has provided significantly improved protection for mature and old growth forests on federal lands, weak protections on state and private forest lands have allowed continued industrial logging on lands that the Marbled Murrelet needs to survive.

A photo of a baby Marbled Murrelet in a mossy nest.
Marbled Murrelet chick in an Elliott State Forest, photo by Aaron Allred

Bird Alliance of Oregon’s Work to Recover the Marbled Murrelet

Bird Alliance of Oregon works at a variety of levels to protect and recover the Marbled Murrelet and the forests on which they depend including

  • Advocating for strong forest management plans on federal, state and private forests
  • Supporting protection of unprotected Marbled Murrelet Habitat
  • Opposing logging  and other activities in Marbled Murrelet habitat that could cause harm to Marbled Murrelets
  • Promoting creation of a system of marine reserves to protect Marbled Murrelets and other seabirds
  • Advocating for strong protections for forage fish on which Marbled Murrelets depend
  • Managing our own coastal sanctuary at 10-Mile Creek for Marbled Murrelets and other species that depend on mature and old growth forest
  • Conducting Marbled Murrelet nesting surveys