What is killing baby birds on the Oregon Coast?

What is killing baby birds on the Oregon Coast? »Play Video

NEWPORT, Ore. - The dead birds showed up on the beach not far from where a dock from a Japanese port washed up.

The juxtaposition put attention on the bird bodies.

Oregon State University professor Rob Suryan says his  research assistant counted 300 dead murres along a three mile strech along Agate Beach. Suryan says there are probably more out there.

And it's pelicans - not tsunami debris - to blame, the professor says. There is a bird colony near the Yaquina Head Lighthouse with thousands of murres living there.  "On Monday night, a group of brown pelicans flew in and landed on our colony at a time when the adult murres are raising their chicks this time of year," said Suryan.

Suryan says many of the adults fled and many of the chicks fell into the ocean or were eaten by the pelicans. He says natural distruptions like this have happened before, but not this deadly.

"This looks like the final disruption at that colony where it's gonna be a near failure this year," said Suryan.

Since this is a natural occurence, Suryan says they're not going to cleanup or dispose of the birds.