Most campgrounds remain OPEN. Sites are available on first-come, first-served basis.
Jed Smith, Elk Prairie, Gold Bluffs Beach campgrounds are OPEN. All sites are available on first-come, first-served basis. Mill Creek Campground is CLOSED and will reopen May 16, 2014. More »
Gravel Access Road CLOSED.
Gravel access road to the Tall Trees trailhead is closed until further notice. Tall Trees Trail and Grove are still open. The easiest way to access this area is by hiking the Redwood Creek Trail, which is 8 miles one way.
From Forest’s Edge to the Edge of Extinction continued:
Nearby, a Steller’s jay hops along the forest floor scavenging for any morsel of food. Aggressive and incredibly intelligent — they can remember hundreds of different food locations — jays and their fellow corvids (ravens and crows) flourish at the ecologically-rich edges of the redwood forest.
The edges of this once unbroken forest have increased a hundred-fold in a hundred years. Highways, logging, cities, campgrounds, and picnic areas open broad boulevards into the heart of the redwood forest. Thus exposed, murrelet chicks and eggs make easy meals for crafty corvids. As the forest edge expands, the marbled murrelet lives today on the edge of extinction.
Don't Help a Good Bird Go Bad!
Marbled Murrelets: The resident population of marbled murrelets lives mainly at sea, yet travels inland to nest. Like small torpedoes, the nesting pair flies 60 to 98 miles per hour into the ancient coast redwood forest to find a large moss-covered limb. The moss provides a ready-made nest and the immense limb keeps all ages of murrelets from falling out of the tree at the slightest breeze. One robin-size adult flies to the ocean at dawn and dusk for food, actually flying through the watery depths in search of smelt and anchovies.
Corvids: You can hear the yackety-yak of the American crow, Steller’s jay, or common raven as they fly overhead. Opportunists, they are always looking for an easy meal. e.g. trash, scraps, livestock feed, and bird feeder food. Corvid memory is even better than a bear’s. Once one of these birds has received a food reward, it will return many times, circling the site over and over.
What’s the connection? While the jay, raven, or crow is repeatedly flying over a previous food site, the bird may spy a murrelet nest high in the redwood forest canopy. The adult murrelets are camouflaged, resembling a redwood branch, but any movement of them or their babies and the corvid will zero in, making a meal of chicks and eggs and disrupting nesting patterns of the adult murrelet pair.
We need your help! Corvid numbers are on the rise while the marbled murrelets are on the decline. Most of the murrelet population in California nests within Redwood National and State Parks. Endangered in California (and federally-listed as threatened), the murrelets need your help now! Please follow these guidelines while hiking, camping, and picnicking.
Help prevent the death of murrelet chicks and eggs:
Corvids are just as important to the parks' ecosystem as murrelets and predation by corvids is a natural process. However, feeding patterns that change because humans alter the environment are not natural. Thanks for your help.
These publications and posters can be used free-of-charge for educational purposes only and with the credit line, Courtesy of the National Park Service.
murrelet color poster - murrelet children's poster 4th grade - murrelet children's poster 7th grade - murrelet exhibit - murrelet magnet art - bulletin board sign - bulletin board sign2 - murrelet postcards
This video clip shows a murrelet feeding its chick on high (over 150 feet) in an old-growth conifer.
Did You Know?
Common in the redwood forest, ravens often scavenge food scraps found in campgrounds. Once they find an easy food source, they constantly fly over that area in search of food. Unfortunately, they may come across a marbled murrelet nest and eat the egg or chick! Please store all food items properly.