Common Murre behavior and habitat
Sight and Sound
Time of Day: 1005
NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
17 Jul 1997
- Tatoosh Island
- 48.39183 -124.73568
- Marine Shoreline
Stereo=2: 1=L, 2=R; Decoded MS stereo
NPR/NGS RADIO EXPEDITIONS
OLYMPIC COAST NMS - Tatoosh
15 okay we're right on the edge of the colony right now so you can just see the shapes of the murres, and we're at a fork in the road so we're going to take the right trail and it goes up to the black fabric which forms a tunnel which ends in a blind, walk slowly they'll tell you when they're concerned.
57 the sounds you're hearing now are chick peeping noises and then there's a whole variety of adult noises .. (makes sound) noises like that when they get concerned they'll stop making those noises and a dull roar from the chest that means back off wait for a minute or two until they stop making that noise and start making loud noises again if you continue to walk forward when they're roaring we may scare them off the nest .... (moving forward through grasses)
..... (2:40) (long stretch with no voices as we move into blind)
blind is like a bay window.
8:38 ok so, me: they're right here, we're in the middle, they're right against the glass, yeah they can't see us? (its a camera here's the lends ok) no. they can't? no they see them and we see them. so now you can start to, wow, i know, quite apart from getting a good idea of why they do well or do not, designing this sort of blind allows us to get close enough to figure out what's going on and as you can hear they are really loud birds. 9:34
all of them have eggs or chicks, colony
10:32 this is a herring coming in looks like. (sound) that's a fish greeting. thank you for ht fish? it's sort of a general neighborhood announcement that a fish has been brought home. 10:49
bare spot surrounded by salmon berry a thorny bush. large nesting area, 6 or 700 birds in this colony. map the location of all the birds and the progress of their eggs and chicks (come every day)
15:47 so all of them that are close to us right now are sitting on eggs? pretty much they have a posture like a fast back square and slopey on the backside and they're very patient ..
16:12 sounds .. they're very vocal birds ....sounds 16:30 i feel like we're sitting right in the middle of their nest and when you see them come waddling up the path, they're coming home and we're sitting right in the middle of their home. yep and they don't seem to mind and that's the amazing thing to me, when we first built blinds like this we did it last year and it was an experiment and they loved it they came right up to the blind, very gregarious bird, they see the blind and what do they see, other murres .. (mirror)
18:15 oh they're all bobbing their heads hear the difference in noise that they make? a low roaring.... (sound) what just happened? there was a gull alarm you can still hear the edge of the gull alarm now the gulls are saying its okay don't worry everything is back to normal it flew off in another direction and so the murres decided it's okay too. 18:50
look at who brings in fish, what kind of fish, to get an idea of whether parents have preferences, studying what makes them nest where, under what circumstances they would abandon their nest. looking at foraging. how much fish they need...how are they reacting to less fish (el nino)
29:46 so there are all sorts of things that we can learn about the birds and this work, the foraging work also allows us to begin to ask the question can we use the birds to monitor the marine environment more widely? 30:00 rather than going out there with ships and expensive equipment and lots of people can we just say let the birds do it, they've been doing it longer, more familiar with enviro, trick is to figure out the filter. we know they can answer the question, how's the marine environment doing? we just have to figure out the signals that they send us (cd cut) and so that's what a lot of the foraging work from year to year allows us to do. 30:34
31:40 Tatoosh hot spot in cold water ..
32:15 the mission of the sanctuaries is twofold, one is education and the other is research (and to me those are two aspects of the same continuum) so a sanctuary focuses effort on figuring out what's there, how they interact, whether the populations or species are in good condition or bad condition, so trends through time, and something about how human activities both direct activities like fishing or tourism, and indirect activities things like pollution or global warming are affecting (those assemblages) those communities. 33:07 The other half of the sanctuary mandate, education, allows us to take the collective knowledge that a bunch of different researchers have and package it in such a way that it gets out to the wider human world. (big bird sound)
33:42 I'm so spoiled being able to be here for weeks at a time that after a while i think its normal and i expect that everybody does this and that's not true, most people will never experience even a small part a the marine environment the way they experience the terrestrial environment and so for that reason to me it's essential that we figure out what's there and what's going on and how it weaves together. i mean its kind of silly when you think about it that because we're terrestrial we can somehow draw a line on a beach and not worry about what's happening in the ocean and we'll be okay i think we make that kind of decision at our peril. on the other hand i don't think that studying murres is going to cure cancer but that's okay. 34:38.***************
lot of her work funded by a fund set up after 1991 oil spill that happened north of island, 75 percent of carcasses, 4500, were murres, physical evidence that murres were affected. the only known stable breeding place for murres in Washington state and not very big, so oil spill could wipe out this population... and restoration efforts ..
wondering why colonies south of here, why aren't they producing more chicks, tailspin in 80's and haven't recovered so we use ...
36:46 we're struggling with how murres are doing in colonies south of this colony still within washington and within sanctuary and what were wondering is why aren't those colonies producing lots of kids they seem to have gone into a tailspin in 80's and have not recovered so we use this place to establish a baseline to say this is how a productive colony can be (cd end here) here's how it fluctates over time here's what affects it and that allows us to say of the fifteen important things abc are most important lets go to these places in south.. and see of those things are there 37:43
38:10 it all comes back to allowing yourself to spend enough time to figure out what the birds are telling you. it seems like such a simple thing and in a sense not a very scientific thing .. its not science with high tech instruments, or complex mathemtaical models its natural hsitory 38:37 *************** sanctuary provides her ewith some funding and logistical support
46:20 (bird sounds) .. 1 love these guys ....46:30************
excavate middens and look for seabird shell fragments.
48:48 they're doing i'm on the accepted path, i'm a neighbor don't attack me
thinks they're talking to their eggs. will be tagging them w/radio tags
52:36 this guys coming right here, there he is he's going feed it to his kid, no he's going to feed it to his egg, they'll try very hard to feed it to the egg .. and it never works. 53:11
(300 birds right in our area)
59:03 good single roar
as resident behaviorist/ set up fake ecotourism cruises .. studied how impacts would effect wildlife. what distances we would set and why based on behavioral response of the animals.
101:26 oh and here's a swtichover happening in front of us .. come on guys get on the egg ..
1:01:56 you always have the feeling that the one that's been on the egg is saying now do it right, nagging, now, are you sure you're okay, here's my phone number, i'll be at lunch.1:02:10
2things: shipping lanes further off the coast
regs the same but penalties are higher.
1:07:22 i really think that we have a great need not in this country but everywhere to preserve some of the marine environment, to coninually think the ocean can take all of our pressures we know that's not true and we know the near shore systems not only are not the most productive but most likely to be harmed. (write this)
they are NOT places of protection. they could be.
1:10:10 and besides i think its completely arrogant for people to believe that they can just extinct everthing andf that's okay. we don't think its okay when another species eats one of us why should we turn around and believe we have no ethical or moral responsiblity to anything other than humans .. (good sound) ....
1:12:06 that's number 13 who just fed its chick.**
slating both tapes at once clapped
1:14:32 (for synch purposes)??
1:14:52 bed of sound from inside the blind....1:22:00
approach to blind one more time
1:23:38 (nice full sound w/ocean) ..walking in through woods .. really nice roars .. 1:24:50 ( a few bumps)
1:25 walks back out but (too much mic handling)
1:27:12 walking back up the trail (thick grass) a month and a half or so they'll stay. don't know where they go.
a beacon at the entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca
1:31:43 mosquito slap!
1:33:54 these are thimbleberries .. (walking through field) they make great pie ..
1:34:34 so there's this constant low key warfare that goes on for nesting sites, so the cormorants the murres and gulls, all have 1:34:47 .. that's an eagle. (sound) 1:35:08*****************
1:35:20 and that eagle noise the scritchy chalkboard noise is this is my territory and also I'm a little distressed that you're so close to me.
1:35:34 and um it comes in two parts and one part the first part ...
1:35:49 more sound
1:36:13 when they land on the murre colony and we're in the blinds they're huge, such a little scritchy noise comes out of such a big bird.
1:40:05 walking and gulls getting louder ......1:40:29
interaction of birds has changed. one successful predation in the early 90's in her observation. in 94 things changed that went up to 8 or 10. now they're taking gulls and murres.
on island community is 5000 in any given year. live 30 years or longer. Tatoosh popl can be as large as 10,000. largest colony in Oregon: almost 300,000 birds tip of Vancouver island about 10,000 birds ...millions in gulf of AK why is there a hole? birds migrate through from sandhill cranes to migrating raptors shore birds an acknowledgement that birds go from place to place ..we might see a richer diversity of birds here.
1:48:14 i think the sanctuary is a great idea, i think the name is a misnomer when people hear the word sanctuary what do they think of, they think of protection, preservation and conservation, and that is not really what our current sanctuaries are, they are places where we can concentrate and or even just collect research knowledge and then disseminate that back as education about the marine environment.
1:48:50 they are not places where we have said people may not go as fishers, or tourists or ships, so i think that research and education are not only very good things but crucial necessary things in order to convey knowledge about a part of the world that most people don't get to see that is the marine environment but i think that they are the tip of what i hope will be a larger iceberg, i hope that with increased knowledge and awareness of the marine environment people will feel the need that i feel to save some of it .. 1:49:44 and sanctuaries just aren't there yet, perhaps they will be in teh future
1:49:58 we're so used to boundaries in terrestrial life and in fact every time
you get in an airplane on a clear day and you fly over america you can see lots and lots of boundaries .. so when we think about designating a new national park its easy to think about .. how do you do it in a marine environment
1:50:26 so when we think about a park, designating a new national park its very easy for us to think about a boundary it looks different from one side to the other and we can put a fence down that line .. how do you do that in a marine environment you can draw a line on a chart, nobody goes out and puts a fence in an ocean and if you did all the little larval things would go through it and so would the pollution and so its really hard to think about what boundary means .. *** so that concept of boundary and one place that never changes, isn't the best metaphor for marine reserve or marine sanctuary.
1:51:39 it's the concept the concept of research and education its the hope of conservation. its not a restriction. it might be in the future ..
1:55:10 when you think about the sanctuaries we have they run the gamut from very small places located on a human use like the wreck of the monitor that was not dedicated because of the value of the natural resources, but historical resources .. in a sense this is the wildest most pristine .. we can use that gradient of size and different habitat types and degree of human intervention to ask questions about how humans interact with the marine environment and when is enough enough.??
1:55:52 I think it's very simplistic to believe that humans always do bad things and need to be remove din order for nature to do its thing humans are a part of nature .. it is possible to be part of the system without wrecking it...
1:56:36 this thought that we can put a fence around something and keep it in a static way unchanging with the same species list and the same number of individuals, sort of the neo Noah's ark approach to preservation and conservation i think is destined for failure because it doesn't preserve for process and dynamic quality...1:57:10
1:57:34 unanticipated benefit: advisory council
1:59:37 if there wasn't a sanctuary.. everything that's here would still be here, but the people all got together in a room so that's a good thing
2:00:00 not only did we get to meet each other but we got to find out what each of us was doing allowed us to know what was being done and what wasn't being done identify gaps.
2:00:49 although the sanctuary as an entity has not altered the marine environment in any demonstrable way good or bad, i think that as a concept it allows us to move forward to greater knowledge of what's around us and that will allow us to make more informed decision about how and when to use the marine environment and when to leave it alone.*************
2:01:58 I feel tremendously lucky to be out here watching
2:02:33 One is tempted to ask why are we funding anybody to do this? how is this useful. i think a bunch of things. i think that knowledge of how nature works is something that can be used can be translated into all sorts of education for people who will never get out here .. () ..
2:03:30 i also think the specific murre work that i do i think of as pre-strike conservation we tend to think of conservation as we identify species threatened endangered a habitat that's in trouble and conservation is often the whining part it's in decline, its going extinct, what do i do about this and then the other half what to do about it restoration and here we have a set up where we're looking at a bird, that's declining in parts of its range, this part, subject to death by unintentional human effects, fishing practices and oil, but right here on this colony, things are not dire //???and that gives us the luxury to examine what murres need in order to survive and construct experiments that allow us to create restoration. that we can then export to other places.
2:05:20 i think that we need places like this, we need field research stations to be able to look at the nitty gritty of how things go together and how they work so that when they fall apart in other places we can say, here try this.********************* (end?) 2:06:10
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