This pilot project ran from May to September 1998 and was the first study of Marbled Murrelets in the coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) and Coastal Western Hemlock very dry maritime (CWHxm1) biogeoclimatic zones of southeastern Vancouver Island. For convenience we refer to these zones as Douglas-fir forests, because they share many similarities. Marbled Murrelets occur in North America from central California to the Bering Sea, though the bulk of the population is found in B.C. and Alaska. The Marbled Murrelet is a red-listed species in British Columbia, and is listed as nationally threatened by COSEWIC. Loss of nesting habitat due to logging is the main threat facing the bird in B.C., but other threats include increased nest predation due to forest fragmentation, and mortality at sea from oil spills and gill nets. The 1998 project was a small pilot study with modest funding. The main goals of the project were to: (1) establish whether the remnant old-growth stands support nesting Marbled Murrelets in the CDF zone and CWHxm1 subzone; (2) map the distribution of occupied stands where the behaviour of murrelets indicates likely nesting; (3) describe the habitat characteristics of the stands in which murrelets occur and in which occupancy is found and compare those with characteristics in stands without murrelets; (4) compare habitat characteristics of occupied stands in the Douglas-fir forests with those in CWH subzones elsewhere on Vancouver Island; (5) map the extent of apparently suitable habitat (based on vegetation characteristics) remaining in the CDF zone and CWHxm1 subzone; and (6) locate nest trees and describe macro- and micro-habitat features of nest stands, trees and sites.
Burger, Alan E., Holm, Katy; Young, Anna; Young, Stephen. 1999. Assessment of Nesting Habitat for Marbled Murrelets in the Coastal Douglas-fir Zone on SE Vancouver Island in 1998. University of Victoria