Marbled Murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) nest predominantly in the canopies of large old-growth conifers, and are listed as Threatened in Canada and 3 US states mainly as a consequence of reductions in this habitat due to logging. We assessed the re-use of nest sites (nest trees) by murrelets in British Columbia using 3 types of data: 1) evidence of return of adults to the same nest site; 2) evidence of multiple nests within the same tree; and 3) re-checking known nest trees in subsequent seasons for evidence of re-use. All 3 methods showed evidence of re-use of nest trees in different years, but there were marked regional differences in the degree of re-use. Re-use of nest trees was most frequent in regions with extensive loss of nesting habitat due to logging (Southern Mainland Coast and East Vancouver Island), and rare in a less disturbed region (West Vancouver Island). Overall, 26 of 143 (18%) nest trees climbed showed evidence of multiple nesting in separate seasons. Management of nesting habitat should incorporate these results by providing greater protection of habitat in regions where habitat is sparse, and by minimizing predation risk where murrelets more frequently re-use nest sites. Since re-use of nest sites is infrequent, managers should aim to provide murrelets with multiple choices for nest sites, such as maintaining large tracts of old-growth forest with many large trees containing potential nest platforms.
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