Pigeon Guillemot Nest Box Colony

Pigeon Guillemots (Cepphus columba) are a seabird that normally nests in rocky crevices and burrows along coastlines from California to Alaska. They are sometimes seen in harbor areas as well, and can be attracted to artificial nest boxes erected in suitable places. Nest boxes were first installed under the OSU Ship Operations dock in Yaquina Bay during the summer of 2016 and in 2017 we have witnessed the first birds nesting!

Guillemots are diving birds, often foraging in nearshore waters as deep as 30 meters where they capture benthic fish and invertebrates. They lay 1 or 2 eggs, incubate for approximately 30 days, and chicks leave the nest after 35-40 days. In 2017, the first egg was laid in this box on May 25th and the second on May 28th. The parents incubated intermittently at first, but began consistently incubating a few days after the second egg was laid. Since 2017 we have continued to have nesting guillemots in our boxes. 

In summer 2022, we had a mink visit our nest boxes and depredate adults and chicks. We have refrained from putting out the nest boxes until we figure out a solution to protect nesting birds from predation. 

Support for this nest box project and the two webcams has been generously provided by an OSU Learning Innovation Grant, the OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, OSU Ship Operations, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex.