The mystery surrounding the deaths of hundreds of murres that have been washing ashore this week on an Oregon beach has been solved: pelicans are to blame.
At least 300 murres have been counted along three miles of Agate Beach, with many more believed to be dead in the water.
Rob Suryan, an Oregon State University professor, told KATU that on Monday night, a large group of brown pelicans landed at a nearby murre colony, where thousands of adult murres were raising their chicks.
Suryan explained that many chicks plopped into the ocean because of this disruption or were consumed by pelicans.
Suryan described this as a natural event, although he had not seen it on this scale, but offered a grim assessment regarding this year's crop of chicks. "It's going to be a near failure this year," he said.