CAROLYN B. MEYER, SHERRI L. MILLER, C. JOHN RALPH
The Wilson Bulletin 116 (3), 197-210, (1 September 2004) https://doi.org/10.1676/03-122
We used two metrics, occupancy and relative abundance, to study forest stand characteristics believed to be important to a threatened seabird that nests in old-growth forests, the Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus). Occupancy refers to murrelet presence or absence based on observed bird behaviors, while relative abundance refers to categories of low, medium, and high numbers of bird observations per survey in a forest stand. Within the murrelet's nesting range in California and southern Oregon, we measured habitat and climatic variables in all old-growth stands surveyed for murrelets between 1991 and 1997. The two bird metrics produced similar results. In California, murrelets most often occupied, or were abundant in, redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) stands with large trees (>100 cm diameter at breast height) located on gentle, low-elevation slopes or on alluvial flats close to streams. In stands of the less flood-tolerant Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in southern Oregon, murrelets most often occupied, or were abundant on, gentle, low-elevation, west-facing slopes that were not close to streams. Murrelets tended to use areas farther from roads. The important climatic requirements for murrelet stands in both states were cool temperatures and high amounts of rainfall.