Help an Endangered Bird by…Cleaning Up Your Crumbs?

Tomorrow marks the longest day of the year, the summer solstice. The summer solstice is a time to celebrate the start of summer, long hours of sunlight, warm nights and plenty of opportunities to be outside. This weekend, you may find yourself spending time in one of our many beautiful redwood parks —picnicking with friends, sitting around a fire, or connecting with nature in your own way. As you spend time outside make sure to be conscious of your impact on nature and pick up your crumbs.

Marbled murrelet. Photo Credit: USFWS, Flickr Creative Commons
Marbled murrelet. Photo Credit: USFWS, Flickr Creative Commons

If you’ve been to a state or county redwood park in California in the past year, you may have seen this photo of a Steller’s jay. This sticker, now commonly found on food lockers, is part of the extremely important “Crumb Clean” campaign. This campaign is designed to bring attention to the heightened number of corvids (crows, ravens, jays, and magpies) in park campgrounds and their impact on nesting marbled murrelets.

Corvids, considered the most intelligent family of birds, are attracted to the food that people leave behind in parks and especially in campgrounds. These corvids, particularly Steller’s jays, are also predators of marbled murrelet eggs; with an increase in jay populations in nesting forests, we see an rise in predation on the eggs of the endangered murrelet.

Murrelets already have a difficult time finding suitable nesting sites within the limited remaining acres of old-growth forests found along the coast. They don’t need any more challenges to making sure their eggs stay alive! (For more about the fascinating lives of marbled murrelets – like why they need old-growth redwoods to survive — check out this blog by Richard Campbell.)

Keep It Crumb Clean
Keep It Crumb Clean

So remember, while vacationing amongst the towering redwoods, make sure to look around and clean up every crumb of food you find, whether or not you created it, and make sure to store all your food in the provided food lockers. These simple actions can have extremely important results for our nesting friends high up in the redwood trees.

For an opportunity to be amongst the redwoods for summer solstice, visit the San Francisco Botanical Gardens events calendar for their wine, cheese and redwoods event.

About the author

Deborah joined the League's staff in 2013 as the Education & Interpretation Manager. She brings with her extensive experience teaching science, developing curriculum and connecting kids to the natural world.


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3 Responses to “Help an Endangered Bird by…Cleaning Up Your Crumbs?”

  1. Elizabeth Humphrey

    Hello! I would love to have some of the Crumb Clean stickers to adhere to group camping boxes for hikes I lead in Washington State. Would love to spread this concept here!

    • Save the Redwoods League

      Hi Elizabeth,
      Thanks for the note. Your request has been forwarded to California State Parks and someone should be in contact with you soon. Hope this helps!

  2. Penny Schultz

    Deborah, that is fascinating. I never thought about how my left over sandwich crusts for the jays would be problematic for marbled murrelet eggs. Leave no footprint or crumbs! my new mantra.


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