More than 30 juvenile common murres were released back into the wild at Haystack Rock Friday morning. The baby seabirds were ones that had washed ashore and rescued by beachgoers over the course of the summer. The Wildlife Center of North Coast rehabilitated the birds and facilitated the release.
“The hardest part is getting the birds past the surf,” rehabilitation specialist Pauline Baker said.
Seeing juvenile birds wash ashore is normal starting in late summer, when the fledgling common murre jumps from nests to learn how to forage for fish. Through the process, some birds will always struggle, and those arriving on shore are often coming into the wildlife center malnourished and hypothermic, Baker said. This year has seen more juvenile bird rescues than in previous years, which scientists believe could point to a healthier bird colony with a more successful reproduction rate.
In poorer years, fewer chicks would even reach fledging stage, and adults would likely be stressed and thinner, meaning surveyors could see relatively more adults washing ashore, according to a report from the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team.