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Discovery and Observations of Two Tree Nests of the Marbled Murrelet

Steven W. Singer, Nancy L. Naslund, Stephanie A. Singer and C. John Ralph
The Condor
Vol. 93, No. 2 (May, 1991), pp. 330-339
DOI: 10.2307/1368948
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1368948
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Discovery and Observations of Two Tree Nests of the Marbled Murrelet
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Abstract

Two nests of the Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) were found in old-growth (300 + years) Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) trees in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Santa Cruz County, California. These were the third and fourth known North American tree nests, and the first to be found by searching from the ground without the use of radio-telemetry. Ground-search techniques for finding nests are presented. Both nests were in the incubation stage when found. Each was observed from a distance for 15 days and 34 days, respectively. Incubation shifts lasted 24 hr with the adults exchanging duties at dawn. Flight behavior near the nest is described. Corvid predation caused both nests to fail, and may be a problem where murrelets nest in areas of high human usage. After nest failure, each tree was climbed. Both nests were located in the inner canopy, mid-crown portion of the trees. Nest branches were large, moss-covered, horizontal branches that were well shaded. One nest was a previously undescribed type of constructed nest made up of small Douglas-fir twigs and foliose lichens. The other nest was a natural depression in a moss-covered limb. Eggshell fragments were similar to previously described eggs. Nest site characteristics are compared to characteristics of the other known Marbled Murrelet tree nests.

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