‘Special’ murrelet comes out of hiding
The Daily Astorian
Published on March 29, 2018 10:58AM
When they are nesting, marbled murrelets stay silent and well hidden. In fact, the coastal seabirds remained a mystery from the time they were discovered in the 1700s by Capt. Cook until 1974, when the first nest was discovered in California.
“There was nothing known about the bird at the time, or at least white man thought,” said S. Kim Nelson, a research biologist with Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.
Nelson spoke at a “Listening to the Land” lecture sponsored by the North Coast Land Conservancy in Seaside March 21.
“The native Americans knew about the marbled murrelets, they knew where they nested,” Nelson said. “They knew about the beautiful dance they do in courtship where they put their bills up in the air and swim across the water and they dive under the water and come up together.”
But nobody thought to ask the Native Americans about the bird that nests deep in forests and forages for prey at the ocean’s edge.
“The Tlinget tribe revered the marbled murrelet. They wouldn’t eat the murrelet because they thought they were so special and mysterious,” Nelson said.