A Blizzard of Birds

The entire colony of common murres kept coming, and coming, and coming, and ...

I’d never before seen so many birds at once. An estimated 60,000 to 80,000 strong, they covered the surface of the sea, filled the air overhead, and quickly covered Colony Rock, their principal breeding site at Yaquina Head. What a cacophonous congregation these common murres were, so thick in the air at times as to constitute a veritable blizzard of birds. For the next several months they would ebb and flow, back and forth between sea and air and rock, fleeing for their own lives as eagles descended, then returning to fend off seagulls and turkey vultures and ravens seeking to steal their precious progeny.

It’s such a stunning display, unfolding here every year, this short video scarcely does it justice. To show how the event went on, and on, and on and on and on, I’ve posted a significantly longer version here too that, though it may look the same, contains completely different video, with not a single second of footage in either clip repeated or overlapped.

For murres referred to as “common,” they arrive in a spectacle most un-common indeed. If you’d like to see more, just click to view “A Blizzard of Birds 2.”


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