Thick-billed Murre (Uria lomvia)
The cliff life of these birds does present many hazards as storms, cold weather and disturbance by humans can cause both chicks and eggs to be blown or knocked off their narrow ledges, killed by exposure, or left undefended to be snatched by predatory gulls. Many more murres are hunted for their meat, drowned in fishing nets, or die as a result of oil spills. Hunting and egg-collection in the 19th and early 20th centuries caused a drastic drop in murre populations, which are only now showing signs of recovery.
Thick-billed murres are truly circumpolar, inhabiting the northernmost reaches of the Arctic coasts and islands. There are very small, isolated populations on the British Columbian coast. Breeding occurs in the High Arctic.
For a complete species account, visit the Arctic section.