murre

I love these little sea birds and after reading a little bit about their struggle for survival and their history here on the coast of San Francisco, I was moved to create a sculpture as a tribute.

The Common Murre and San Francisco History:
In the mid-1800s the population of San Francisco exploded creating a shortage of eggs. Someone discovered that the Common Murre egg tasted good and that there was an abundance of the Murre eggs on the Farallon Islands, only
27 miles outside the Golden Gate. There was money to be made and a battle ensued over egg rights --- people lost their lives over it. The conflict even had a name, The Egg War. As a result, the Common Murre, a multi-talented seabird, nearly disappeared from the Farallons. In 1881, the federal government stepped in and stopped the practice of stealing the eggs, allowing the Murre population to rebuild.

Devil’s Slide:
The Common Murre once thrived on the rocks at Devil’s Slide, a rocky cliff area on the coast between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay, until 1986 when an oil barge, the Apex Houston, spilled 26,000 gallons of oil killing nearly 10,000 seabirds on the cliffs at Devil’s Slide. One of the consequences was the Common Murre no longer bred on the rocks and their colony disappeared. However, a $6.4 million settlement against the
oil company provided funding for wildlife agencies to work together to help bring the Common Murre back to the cliffs. Some progress has been made.

Learn more about this amazing sea bird.

 

Common Murre
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(mixed-media, life size - 27 inches tall)

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