Three environmental groups filed a lawsuit yesterday against Gov. John Kitzhaber and numerous state and county forestry officials that demands an end to logging in the coastal forest habitat of the marbled murrelet, a seabird that nests in trees.

The plaintiffs in the U.S. District Court lawsuit—Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Audubon Society of Portland—had given notice of the suit in January.

They argue:

Defendants [the forestry officials] are systematically authorizing timber sales on the Tillamook, Clatsop and Elliott State Forests that log areas occupied by marbled murrelets and fragment interior forest habitat that marbled murrelets need for successful nesting and reproduction.

The complaint says that reserve areas officials have set aside for the murrelets "fail to provide sufficient habitat to protect the birds or their nesting sites."

The environmental groups are seeking a judgment that the state and county officials have violated the federal Endangered Species act, and a logging ban in the murrelet-occupied areas.

What's a murrelet? Check the Wikipedia page, which just happens to have the cutest public-domain picture on the internet of a murrelet chick, shown above. Somewhat creepily, however, the chick in the picture is a taxidermy specimen.