Kittitas County Community Events Calendar
Rare Bird--Pursuing the Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet
"This chunky little seabird stole my heart." So confesses Maria Mudd Ruth, who first encountered the Marbled Murrelet in 1999, and became swept up in its strange story. This
winged curiosity flies like a little brown bullet at up to 100 MPH and lives most of its life offshore. It is only seen near land during the breeding season, when the female lays a single
egg high on a mossy tree limb in ancient coastal forests
Olympia writer and "accidental naturalist" Maria Mudd Ruth will share her story of the endangered Pacific Coast seabird that is the subject of her book, Rare Bird: Pursuing the
Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet. Known as the enigma of the Pacific in the 1950s, this robin sized bird kept its breeding behavior and nest sites a secret until 1974 when a tree trimmer
accidentally discovered the first nest on a wide branch 148 feet up a Douglas fir. Once the murrelets survival was linked to the large trees growing in the mature and old growth forests,
the battle began to protect what was left of this valuable habitat to save this species from extinction. The Audubon Society of Portland led the charge and worked with other Audubon chapters to have this bird listed under the Endangered Species Act.
Despite listing as a federally threatened species since 1992 and state listed in 1993, the murrelet populations declined at an alarming rate –30% between 2001 and 2010. In addition
to the loss of their nest habitat by logging and development, the murrelet suffers from oil spills and pollution, depletion of forage fish, gillnetting, and high rates of nest predation.
Though you may never see or hear a Marbled Murrelet, Maria's slide program and stories will inspire you to help protect this rare bird.
This Audubon program will presented at the Hal Holmes Center, of the Ellensburg Public Library at 7:00 P.M., Thursday, Oct. 17.. A brief business meeting will precede the program
the program is jointly sponsored by Kittitas Audubon and the Ellensburg Public Library, and is open to the public.