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Seabird nest in Channel Islands National Park a 'historic' find

Common murres on the Farallon Islands

The California common murre –- a kind of seabird last spotted in the Channel Islands nearly a century ago -- hatched chicks on a rocky islet in Channel Islands National Park last month, park officials said Tuesday.

Murres –- which are far more common off the northern California coast –- disappeared in 1912 from the hundred-foot-high cliffs of Prince Island, a windswept spot off San Miguel Island. But four researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Ecological Research Center spotted a murre nest on a trip to the remote island.

“This is an exciting finding --certainly a historic one,” said Josh Adams, a seabird ecologist who was part of the group.

Prince Island is home to 13 kinds of nesting seabirds, making it “one of the most important and biologically diverse nesting habitats on the West Coast of North America,” according to park spokeswoman Yvonne Menard.

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-- Steve Chawkins

Photo: Common murres on the Farallon Islands off the Northern California coast. Credit: Farallones Marine Sanctuary / Associated Press

 
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