There are now scores of murre colonies on the West Coast dra- matically affected during the past few years by eagles. The outlook for the future is grim, especially
for the famous colonies on the
north Oregon coast.
Most notable is Three Arch
Rocks, which consists of fifteen
acres on three large and six small
islands a half-mile offshore from
Oceanside, Oregon. It once had
the largest common murre colony
south of Alaska.
In 1901, William Finley, Her-
man Bohlman, Ron Nicholas,
and Ellis Hadley, all oologists (egg
specialists), made a trip to Three
Arch Rocks to collect eggs and
bird skins. Due to bad weather,
they were able to reach the rocks
only for a short period. However,
They were able to pull the boat
up on the outermost rock and
camped there for nearly a week.
Rather than collecting eggs and
skins, they spent their time pho-
tographing the birds. During
the 1903 trip, they witnessed the
tugboat Vosberg, from Tilla-
mook, Oregon, steaming around
the islands. It was filled with
shooters killing the nesting birds.
Finley learned this was a weekly
Once back in Portland, Finley
was instrumental in having the
Thanks to bald eagle predation, these words sum up the
current plight of nesting common murres in many locations on the West Coast. My father used “most unfortunate” to express a weary philosophical acknowledgement
of an unexpected, painful disappointment.