The threatened marbled murrelet is a small seabird that flies inland to nest on the mossy limbs of old-growth trees. During the past century California’s murrelet population dropped from 60,000 to approximately 4,000. Humboldt Redwood Company’s (formerly Pacific Lumber) ancient redwood groves in Humboldt County are one of three remaining nesting areas in California.
Biologist C.J. Ralph states, “I have seen no bird as closely tied to a forest type. They are entirely dependent on old-growth.” According to Ralph, the murrelet’s breeding success rate in California is too low to keep up with mortality, and the probability of extinction is high.
According to wildlife biologist Kim Nelson, “The location and habitat characteristics of the Headwaters Forest, coupled with the fact that little suitable habitat remains in the historic range of the species in California, make the acquisition and preservation of the Headwaters Forest key to the survival and recovery of the murrelet in California.”