Murre/Guillemot

staple1Twelve thousand breeding pairs of Common Murres, Uria aalge, known as Guillemots in the UK, nest on Staple Island. staple2Murres eschew nesting material and just use shallow depressions on the rocky surface of such “bird cliffs.” Their eggs are rather more pointy on one end than your typical egg, so that, if nudged or knocked, they should roll around in a circle… instead of off a ledge.IMG_3117Choate says “murre” is probably of Celtic origin. “Guillemot” is from the French Guillaume, making these birds “little Williams.” The final “t” is pronounced in Great Britain.IMG_3106A small percentage of Murres are of the brindled or ringed variety, with white around the eye and flaring back in a down-curving line. This percentage increases as you get further north.IMG_3110Sets you apart in a crowd. But with so many birds crowded together to nest, wouldn’t the birds simply confuse eggs? Turns out their eggs have a high degree of variation, presumably to help parents identify them. IMG_3169

1 Response to “Murre/Guillemot”


  1. 1 crystalhrogers July 4, 2015 at 8:30 am

    The detail on the birds is fantastic. Makes me want to pet one. But I bet the smell is terrific.


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