Meet the Marbled Murrelet – A Bird of Two Worlds

Credit: Josh London

Marbled murrelet (credit: Josh London)

January 2, 2013

The second Sequoia Park Zoo conservation lecture in the 2012-2013 series invites humans into the amazing world of the Marbled murrelet – a bird that nests high up in the redwoods and spends the rest of its life on the ocean.

On Wednesday, January 9, Gary Falxa, a biologist in the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species program in Arcata, will introduce us to the murrelets and their ecology. The life cycle of these birds is tied both to the ocean, where they feed and spend most of their lives, and the older forests that they depend on for nesting.

Gary Falxa

Gary Falxa, Biologist for the US Fish & Wildlife Service

“My first encounter with marbled murrelets in Humboldt County was awaking to murrelet calls in Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park, as the birds flew upriver through the dawn fog, recalls Falxa.  “This talk will examine how efforts over the past 10-15 years can help bring into focus how old-growth forest protection and ocean conditions may impact murrelet populations and what we can do to protect these unique birds.”

Since 2007, Gary Falxa has coordinated the monitoring of murrelet populations and their habitat in California, Oregon and Washington, under the Northwest Forest Plan. In addition to marbled murrelets, he is interested in conserving endangered butterflies and other rare species in northwest California, and to that end has also worked on habitat conservation plans for commercial timberlands in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Prior to coming to Arcata in 2000, Gary worked in the US Fish & Wildlife Service field office in Sacramento, and as an itinerant field biologist studying birds in the U.S., Mexico, and SE Asia. He received his PhD in Zoology from the University of California, Davis, specializing in animal ecology.

The talk will take place in the Zoo’s classroom in the Secrets of the Forest building at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 9, and a reception will be held half an hour beforehand. There is no charge to attend, and both Zoo members and non-members are invited. Enter through the main Zoo gates.

“Marbled murrelets are in many ways symbolic of our life here on the North Coast of California,” says Gretchen Ziegler, Zoo Manager and Chair of the Conservation Advisory Committee. “Their lives are inextricably tied to both the redwood forests and the ocean, as are the lives of many of the people who live here.”

The next lecture in the series will take place on February 13, 2013. Dawn Goley, Professor of Zoology at Humboldt State University and Director of the Marine Mammal Education & Research Program, will present “Marine Mammals in Northern California – Studied Dead or Alive!”

For a full schedule of upcoming conservation lectures, visit the zoo’s Conservation Lecture page.

Contact:  Gretchen Ziegler
Phone:    707-441-4227
E-mail: ten.o1413092292ozkra1413092292paiou1413092292qes@r1413092292egana1413092292mooz1413092292

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