Bald Eagles Disrupt Murre Colonies

NEWPORT, Ore. — If you’re headed to the Oregon Coast, you might notice more bald eagles. But that actually isn’t the best news for a different species of bird that lives on the coast.

OSU researchers say many eagles are showing up near Yaquina Head near Newport, where murres have a major nesting colony.

Researchers say eagles landing on the colony are scaring the adult murres off, leaving behind their eggs and chicks. And that opens the door for other birds, like brown pelicans and gulls to swoop in and grab hundreds of eggs.

“The question is, what are the other food sources for the eagles? And it’s not only the eagles that are affecting the murre population. For example, at Yaquina Head, we’ve seen the lowest reproductive success at that colony, mostly because of predators, than we have seen in over 10 years,” said Robert Suryan, OSU Associate Professor.

Researchers say the eagles aren’t having a negative impact on the murre population, but if they disrupt the reproductive cycles of the seabird, that might change in the year to come.

Photo courtesy of Oregon State University.

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