Decoys

Common Murre

Photo: USFWS Common Murre Restoration Project

Hollow, rotomolded polyethylene
¼”/20 threaded insert for anchor rod (not included)
Available in standing and nesting posture

The 1986 Apex Houston oil tanker spill in San Francisco Bay to Long Beach Harbor killed approximately 6,000 Common Murres including the colony on Devil’s Slide Rock just south of San Francisco.  Following a monetary settlement for the damage, representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Fish and Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Game joined together to establish a Trustee Council.  This Council was responsible for reviewing, designing and implementing habitat restoration in areas damaged by the spill.

The Common Murre Restoration Project began in 1995 with the goal of re-establishing a Common Murre colony on Devil’s Slide Rock.  Mad River Decoy supplied 400 adult murre decoys and eggs that along with mirror boxes and sound systems, acted as social attractants for this very colonial bird.  The program was tremendously successful and far exceeded project expectations in the first year.  Numbers of breeding murres have increased every year.  The number of murre decoys was gradually reduced to allow space for more breeding pairs.  These decoys were moved to other areas damaged by the spill.  In 2001 we provided the project with 50 Brandt’s Cormorant decoys to be placed in the colony as a confidence species.

Another valuable aspect of this project is it educational component.  Local school children help repaint the decoys every year as part of their studies on the environment and local marine ecology.

As a result of the success of the California restoration project, in 2009 the University of Winnipeg and Memorial University began as Common Murre project in Newfoundland, Canada.

How you can help, right now