A partnership between Oregon State University, Real Time Research, and the USGS - Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Miller Sand Spit

Western tip of Miller Sands SpitMiller Sands, an island complex in the upper Columbia River estuary, up-stream from the City of Astoria (OR), is largely derived from dredged material. Three distinct habitat types are recognized: a large vegetated upland island formed prior to 1940; an elongated barren sand spit formed primarily since 1970; and a protected cove between the island and the spit. Currently, over 100 pairs of glaucous-winged/western gulls nest at the western tip of Miller Sands Spit. Several hundred pairs of ring-billed gulls formerly nested on Miller Sands Spit, but this species has not nested on the island in recent years. The first documented nesting by Caspian terns on Miller Sands Spit occurred in 1998 (17 breeding pairs), following efforts to attract terns to nest there using decoys and sound systems; Caspian tern attraction efforts were discontinued in 1999 and terns have not nested at the site since. Experimental attempts to attract double-crested cormorants to nest on Miller Sands Spit resulted in formation of a small cormorant nesting colony at the western tip of Miller Sands Spit during 2005-2007; about 90 breeding pairs successfully nested at the site in 2007. These social attraction experiments were completed in 2007 and cormroants have not nested at this site since.