San Francisco Bay NWR Complex
Pacific Southwest Region

Common Murre Restoration Project:
Live Murre Video on the Web

On March 3, 2007, our two remote-controlled video cameras were re-installed 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 has an external microphone for listening to the colony. The pan, tilt, and zoom features of the cameras enable us to get amazingly close views of the birds and eventually of their eggs and chicks, too. The main function of the cameras is to provide better viewing for researchers monitoring the colony, but we are happy to provide public access via the web for viewing, enjoyment, and education. For higher quality images and views of Devil's Slide Rock, the live-streaming video can also be seen and heard at the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel between 7:30AM and sunset

(requires Real Player)

If no image is seen, cameras may be shut off or the streaming
server may be too busy. Try again later.

View common murres nesting on Devil's Slide Rock in a
pre-recorded video
(12.3 MB)

The National Audubon Society (NAS), a cooperator on the Common Murre Restoration Project, is hosting a live murre cam! Now anyone with internet connection can view live footage of the birds on Devil's Slide Rock.

What You Can See on the Video
Cameras are 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 zoom in on particular nests or birds as we look for eggs and chicks, or to identify a fish brought in by a murre. When the cameras are not being used for monitoring, they will slowly scan the rock on an automatic loop. Two of the three pairs of Westen gulls (Larus occidentalis) also nest on the rock out of view of the cameras. These birds can often be seen roosting within view of the cameras. In summer, roosting brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) and Heermann's gulls (Larus heermanni), which breed farther south, may also be seen. On the west side of the rock is the solar array used to power the video system and antennae for sending and receiving signals from the cameras. Colored markers are used as landmarks and plot markers.

Camera and Decoys

Seasonal Patterns To Look For
You will be able to view different aspects of murre breeding biology depending on what time of year it is.

Month by Month
What to expect
March to Late April:
Courtship and pair bonding
May to June:
Egg laying and incubating
June to July:
Chicks hatching
July to August:
Chicks fledging
Nov. to Feb:
Birds often present to defend nest site

Common Murres are not the only birds you will see on the video. The California Coast is a very productive and healthy habitat, and therefore a very attractive breeding area for a large range of bird species. Some of the most commonly seen birds on DSR are: Brandt's cormorants, Western gulls, Heerman's gulls, Brown Pelicans, Black turnstones.


Brandt's Cormorant, Phalacrocorax penicillatus
Western Gull, Larus occidentalis

USFWS Photos

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

A computer at the hostel is connected to the internet. Specialized software can relay commands and data from other remote controls on the internet to the motherboard on the rock. The controls also stream 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 enjoy watching the murres on a 17" LCD TV as well as an interpretive displays. The TV is hardwired right to the video receiver for high quality picture. . The Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel is open to the public from 7:30-10:00 A.M. and 4:30-10:00 P.M. Or, visit their website for directions and more information.

National Audubon Society National Audubon Society National Audubon Society


US Fish and Wildlife Service Emblem CA Dept of Fish and Game National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Audubon Society Humboldt State University

Last updated: January 4, 2012