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With the long-time protection of the American Bald Eagle and the Brown Pelican, both on the Endangered Species List for quite a while (both species recently de-listed), those populations have made quite a come back. And their rising pre-dominance in the food chain has been taking a toll on at least one bird population – the Common Murre.
Murres had swelled in numbers as the Bald Eagle and Brown Pelicans declined due to environmental hazards like the pesticide DDT. But the big birds are back – with a vengeance. Recent photos and videos of invading Bald Eagles and Brown Pelicans on Murre nesting rocks off the Oregon Coast have born testament that the “hey days” of the Murres are over – at least for a while.
In the case of the Bald Eagle it might appear to be a very convenient way of feeding their growing numbers. For the Brown Pelican it could be a godsend in that their favorite food, sardines, have become scarce off the Pacific Coast of North America as anchovies have taken their place in what is thought to be a giant life cycle in the ocean.
But this is only a small part of the story that OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife biologist Cheryl Horton will reveal in her upcoming lecture on “Bald Eagles and their Top-down influences on Common Murre Populations in Oregon.” Her lecture is scheduled for Thursday, January 22nd, 3:30 to 4:30pm at Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Guin Library seminar room. It’s FREE and wide open to the public for those who would like to know more about the coast and its wildlife.