The small, swift marbled murrelet gets all its food from the ocean and moves inland only to nest. Unlike most seabirds, murrelets are comparatively solitary. Their reproductive strategy is to be so secretive that predators don’t find their eggs, which are laid directly into a depression of a high tree limb.

Scientists are studying what marbled murrelets need to ensure their survival. This visually stunning four-minute follows Oregon State University research volunteers during a nighttime vigil as they search for murrelets flying out to sea. Venture out with them onto the ocean as they document the size of a murrelet and release her into the night.

Oregon State University student Rachael Vega narrates, sharing her own poetic essay.