The Annual Murrelet Report

January 27, 2017 Posted by: Emma Johnson
Researchers on a boat using binocularsMurrelet researchers follow transects to study the abundance and distribution of murrelets in Glacier Bay. NPS Photo

From Chris Sergeant, NPS Ecologist with the Southeast Alaska Network, Inventory and Monitoring:

"The Southeast Alaska Network (SEAN) is pleased to share our 2016 annual report estimating the summertime abundance and distribution of Kittlitz's and marbled murrelets in Glacier Bay. Our surveys estimated 7,025 Kittlitz's murrelets in the main bay, which is the lowest estimate since monitoring began in 2009, but very similar to 2011 and 2013. Marbled murrelet abundance was 60,624, pretty much hovering around the eight-year average. We are continuing to work on synthesizing all of our existing monitoring data to assess general program performance and look forward to sharing that with you this year."

Kittlitz's murrelets are a rare seabird that lives in Alaska and northeast Russia. Glacier Bay is home to a significant portion of the Kittlitz's global population. Kittlitz's murrelets rely on many of the same resources as marine mammals, including humpback whales, which makes them good indicators of the health of the marine food web. Marbled murrelets are also found in significant numbers in Glacier Bay. The lifecycle of Kittlitz's murrelets is often associated with glaciers, while marbled murrelets rely on old growth forests. 

Read the complete report or find the report, all available data, and other supporting materials for download on the SEAN Kittlitz's Murrelet page.

Kittlitz's murrelet, a brown seabird
The lifecycle of the rare Kittlitz's Murrelet is closely associated with glacial ecosystems. NPS Photo

3 Comments Comments icon

  1. Prime Skin Cream
    November 21, 2018 at 03:14

    Very nice info and right to the point. I am not sure if this is in fact the best place to ask but do you people have any thoughts on where to hire some professional writers? Thanks in advance :)

  2. Chris
    September 06, 2017 at 07:39

    Mr. Gray: Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this post. As you point out, and the blog post mentions, Kittlitz's murrelets continue to be a species of conservation concern, and Glacier Bay is home to a significant portion of the global population every summer. The National Park Service's Inventory and Monitoring Program strives to provide parks with scientifically accurate information on the current status and long-term trends of important natural resources. While knowing the abundance and locations of birds in the park is not a conservation action in itself, it provides essential information to determine whether a population is declining, increasing, or remaining steady. In our 9 years of monitoring, there is no strong evidence that Kittlitz's murrelets are significantly declining or increasing within the park since our original survey in 2009. Due to the natural fluctuations in these birds' migration and breeding patterns every year, it may take 20 to 30 years to detect any change. The hope is that if we detect significant population declines or other issues, we can work with other scientists and managers to determine additional research or regulatory steps in response to population decline. But the most important first step is to have good, basic information on abundance. I hope this sheds a little more light on our program. I'm happy to provide more details at any time. You can email me at

  3. Frank Gray
    September 03, 2017 at 04:19

    Hello. Very interesting information. However, it is a bit unclear how this data will be used, especially to keep the Kittlitt's Murrelet from going extinct. What management actions will this information lead to? The report summary, the video of the surveys that I saw, and the report itselt seemed very heavy on methodology but light on details about how the data will be used or how species recovery will be achieved. If the glaciers keep melting, as is likely the case, is this just a case of documenting the decline?

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Last updated: January 27, 2017

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