photo of a Marbled Murrelet

Endangered Marbled Murrelets Return to Purisima

Marbled Murrelet in Purisima Open Space Preserve. Photo by Midpen.

Midpen biologist Karine Tokatlian has spent many pre-dawn hours in Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve forests scanning the skies and straining her ears for the unmistakable cries of marbled murrelets. These endangered seabirds spend most of their life at sea, but fly inland to nest in old-growth trees. Year after year, Tokatlian, along with the help of acoustic monitoring devices, detected little to no activity beyond a few far away, faint calls.

“This year was completely different,” Tokatlian said. “Dozens of detections in numbers not seen since the 1990s indicate that murrelets are nesting in the preserve again. It’s very exciting news. They may have redistributed after 2020 CZU fire.”

It’s critical that preserve visitors pack out all food waste and garbage to prevent attracting ravens, crows and jays that are the primary predators of murrelet eggs and chicks.

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