Like us on Facebook
Rainbow at Haystack Rock

Friends of Haystack Rock

Photo courtesy of Ram Papish


Common Murre

(Uria Aalge) 


Visitors to the Oregon Coast often mistake the Common Murre for a baby penguin!  Their tuxedo plumage and upright posture indeed make them seem like they could be the penguin's Northwest cousin, but the Common Murre actually belongs to a different family of bird: the Auk family. 


Starting in April, Common Murres congregate on Haystack Rock.  They don't build nests like many of the other birds you'll see on the rock though; instead each female chooses a bare ledge or cliff edge and lays upon it a single teardrop-shaped egg.  The unique shape of the egg insures it doesn't  fall off the rock when disturbed because rather than rolling, it's apt to spin in circles. Breeding Murre colonies can be so dense that incubating parents are often touching one another.   


Both parents share duties of the incubation process and rearing of the chick for the first 2-4 weeks, at which point the father takes over completely.  He leaves the rock for the surf below and calls to his young chick to join him.  Fluttering its wings to help ease the fall, the chick leaps to its father and the true parenting begins. For the next two months the father will help teach the young fledgling how to fend for itself.  


Besides coming ashore to breed, the Common Murre spends the rest of its life at sea. It can fly short distances but its wings are adapted more suitably for diving and swimming.   It feeds on small fish and is only able to catch one at a time in its small beak.   


Here on the Oregon Coast, juvenile Murre are prone to wash ashore during the Fall and Winter seasons.  When this happens, it's usually just because they're tired and hungry and unable to compete with rough ocean conditions.

Here on the




Discover Haystack!


A brand new way to experience Haystack Rock is here with the Discover Nature App.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in partnership with the Friends of Haystack Rock and HRAP has launched an interactive, place-based game app called "Discover Haystack." The app teaches visitors about the diverse seabirds, marine mammals, rocky shore habitats and creatures that make the Oregon Coast such a vibrant and wondrous ecological system.  


Developed by Discover Nature Apps, an award winning mission-driven app developer, the "Discover Haystack" game includes a GPS-guided nature-based scavenger hunt; the ability for users to post and view field tips and photographs; and the opportunity to share their experiences on social media.  The app is free; simply search for "Discover Nature Apps" on iTunes or Google Play Store and download it to your iPhone or Android. 


To play the "Discover Haystack" game, users must be at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach.  People visiting as a group can compete against one another, or families can opt to work as a team.  Beyond the game, the app offers opportunities for users to capture photos of their discoveries including field notes such as where they are seeing Tufted Puffins or Sunflower Sea Stars.   






Volunteers Needed!  

The Haystack Rock Awareness Program needs your help! Thousands of people visit the tidepools that surround Haystack Rock. The Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) is a stewardship and environmental education program whose mission is to protect, through education, the intertidal and bird ecology of the Marine Garden and Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Volunteers are crucial to our mission! Whether it be once a week or once a month, we accept and appreciate any level of involvement. Please call: 503-436-8060 or email: [email protected] for more information or to sign up!  




Join HRAP for their Annual Summer Potluck

Saturday, August 8 


Doors open at 6pm. Presentation at 7pm.  

Cannon Beach City Hall (163 E. Gower Street) 

Amelia O' Conner from the US Fish and Wildlife Service will be presenting about her work monitoring seabird colonies in protected areas.