Marbled Murrelet mug
A Marbled Murrelet floats on the sea. Marbled murrelets are a native sea bird species whose population south of Canada is declining due to its nesting habitat being threatened by the loss of coastal old-growth forests in that region. A relative of the puffin, the marbled murrelet spends most of its time foraging in coastal waters, from central California to the Aleutian Islands. However, unlike most seabirds, however, it flies up to 50 miles inland to nest on the branches of large, old-growth trees. It is this nesting habit that might explain the reasons for the murrelet’s shrinking population, including continuing loss of suitable nesting habitat and the increased number of predators preying on the murrelet’s eggs and chicks. In 1992, the marbled murrelet population south of Canada was listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, a designation that requires federal agencies to carry out conservation measures for listed species. Photo by U.S. Forest Service Martin Raphael.