San Francisco Bay NWR Complex
Pacific Southwest Region

Common Murre Restoration Project: Murre Videos on the Web

The Live Murre Cam is no longer streaming. The season has ended and the cameras have been removed from Devil’s Slide Rock. Enjoy watching a few of the video highlights recorded during the past breeding seasons.

Click on image below to view video

Murres Allopreening
Common Murre Pair (0:14 sec)

Brandt's Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant Displaying
(0.22 sec)
Murre Incubation Switch
Murre Incubation Switch (1:12 min)

Brandt's Cormorant nest stealing
Cormorants Stealing Nest (0.41 sec)

Murre Egg Slideshow
Murre Eggs! (0:46 sec)

Brandt's Cormorant Chick Feed
Cormorant Feeding Chick (0:55 sec)
Murre Chick Feed
Common Murre Chick Feed
(0:33 sec)

Brandt's Cormorant Chicks
Cormorant Chicks Begging (1:25 min)


Murre Chick Feed
Murre Chick Fledging (0:43 sec)
Brandt's Cormorant Chicks
Cormorant Chicks in Nest (0:49 sec)

Remote-controlled video cameras were utilized during the 2005, 2006, and 2007 breeding seaons on Devil's Slide Rock. Both video cameras were installed on the top ridge of the rock, with one viewing the west side and one the east side of the rock. Each camera also had an external microphone for listening to the colony. The pan, tilt, and zoom features of the cameras enabled us to get amazingly close views of the birds and eventually of their eggs and chicks, too. The main function of the cameras was to provide better viewing for researchers monitoring the colony.

What You Can See on the Video

Cameras were used primarily for following nesting success of seabirds on Devil's Slide Rock. Two species nest within view of the cameras: Common murre ( Uria aalge) and Brandt's cormorant ( Phalacrocorax penicillatus). The black and white murres do not build nests and lay their single egg directly on the rock. The larger cormorants are mostly black, fine white plumes shower the back and cheeks, and in spring the throat is a bright, irridescent turquoise. They build large nests made of seaweed and other plant material where they lay their clutches of 2-4 eggs. When used for research, the cameras zoomed in on particular nests or birds as we looked for eggs and chicks, or to identify a fish brought in by a murre.

How it All Works

The video footage from the two cameras set up on Devil's Slide Rock was transmitted to a receiver at nearby Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel via microwave. The microwave video was one-directional and "line of sight". Cameras were controlled with commands sent from a computer via UHF modems.

A computer at the hostel was connected to the internet. Specialized software relayed commands and data from other remote controls on the internet to the motherboard on the rock. The controls also streamed the video onto the internet, thus allowing multiple points of monitoring and control, as well as public access all via the internet.

Visitors at the hostel can still enjoy watching recorded video of the murres on a 17" LCD TV as well as an interpretive display. The Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel is open to the public from 7:30 A.M. till sunset. Or, visit their website for directions and information.

Last updated: January 4, 2012