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Marbled Murrelet (MaMu) Nesting Surveys

May 3, 2012

 Marbled Murrelet (MaMu) Nesting Surveys

A Cortes Island Citizen Science Project

 A citizen science project has been initiated on Cortes Island to undertake the first comprehensive surveys of nesting marbled murrelets.

 Jenna Cragg, a MSc candidate in the UVic Biology department, presented a
MaMu training workshop
on Cortes Island at the  Linnaea Education Centre,
Friday May 4 at 7pm.

The Cortes team is still accepting volunteers to help with nesting surveys mid-May through mid-June. Join us!  Come one, come all; learn about the biology of these elusive little auks.

The marbled murrelet (MaMu), Brachyramphus marmoratus, is a small seabird that occurs in our local waters. The marbled murrelet is listed as threatened under the Canadian Species At Risk Act (SARA) based primarily on the assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) that the rate of nesting habitat loss is excessive. Under the current Wildlife Act, there is NO protection for the habitat of an endangered species. Interior old growth with high canopy complexity is the marbled murrelets primary nesting habitat. British Columbia forest companies are increasingly targeting this habitat; see the attached mapping for a view of recent regional habitat losses.

The first marbled murrelet nest was not documented until 1974; a depression in a large mossy pad in the canopy of a large old conifer. Trees with nest sites are usually greater than 200 years old, attain a height of 28.5 m and occur within 30km of the sea. The Ministry of Environment MaMu habitat suitability mapping, conducted in 2009, highlighted extensive areas of suitable habitat on Cortes Island and this habitat will be the focus of our nesting surveys.

Join us in the quest to document the first MaMu nests on Cortes Island; the greatest treasure hunt ever!!!  Sign-up! Questions? Call Sabina 935 6467

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