In May 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Park Service (NPS) began receiving reports of dead and dying seabirds from the northern Bering and Chukchi seas, including near Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.
From late June to early August, thousands of Short-tailed Shearwaters were reported dead and washing up on beaches in the Bristol Bay region, or observed weak and attempting to feed from salmon gillnets in inland waters. By mid-August, the shearwater die-off had extended north, in smaller numbers but widespread locations, into the northern Bering and Chukchi seas along the coasts of Alaska and the Chukotka Peninsula of Russia. Puffins, murres, and auklets are also being reported, but at much lower numbers than shearwaters. Additionally, live Short-tailed Shearwaters have been observed in large numbers this August in the Gulf of Alaska, along the coasts of Glacier Bay and Kenai Fjords national parks, and bays of Kodiak Island. It is unusual to see this species in high abundance in these areas, as it is typically offshore and comes from the southern hemisphere to forage in the Bering and Chukchi seas during the summer and fall.
Historically, seabird die-offs have occurred occasionally in Alaska; however, large die-off events have occurred each year since 2015. Consistently, dead birds examined from the Bering and Chukchi seas during these recent die-offs were determined to have died due to starvation. Seabird carcasses from the 2019 die-off events were collected from multiple locations and sent to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center for examination and testing. Initial results indicate starvation as the cause of death for most locations. However, in southeast Alaska, exposure to saxitoxin (a biotoxin associated with paralytic shellfish poisoning) was linked in June to a localized die-off of breeding Arctic Terns. Analyses of tissue samples for harmful algal bloom toxins are on-going and results will be shared as they become available. To date there has been no evidence of disease.
Courtesy of nps.gov
Kivalina residents were greeted with an unwelcome surprise on their beaches last week. People driving four-wheelers along the coast counted dozens of dead seabirds scattered across the ground.
“(They were) both nearby and far away, all down the coastline going south,” said resident Rojo Adams. “We stopped counting at 65.”
Adams said most of the birds were black, though a few were white or mixed color. Resident Janet Mitchell took several photos around the same time. They, too, show black and white birds, along with one puffin. She said most of the birds she found were nearest town and there weren’t many further north.
The birds didn’t appear to have been shot or killed by people, Adams said.
“There were maybe four or five that had missing feathers from the neck area and maybe two that were partially eaten (or) might have been run over,” she said. “(I’m) not too sure. They were all along the coastline and only a few near the grass line.”
Fellow resident Fran Douglas said she spotted the birds while taking family members back home on a four-wheeler.
“At first I thought, huh, what happened to the birds,” she said. “Then I got alarmed.”
She said she counted about 20 to 30 medium-sized birds with black backs and white bellies spaced out along the entire beach of the island.
“My intuition tells me there’s probably more past the island,” Douglas said. “(There was) no blood; (it) just seemed to be a mass die-off.”
Courtesy of thearcticsounder.com
Photo By Sarah Grimes
Starting on Wednesday, May 22, hundreds of Common Murres, an ocean-going bird native to the Pacific Coast from the Channel Islands to the tip of the Aleutians in Alaska, have been reported washed up dead or dying on beaches along a 10-mile stretch of coastline in Mendocino County between Noyo Bay and Seaside Beach.
Local wildlife observers say it’s too early to tell what is causing the die-off.
The Common Murre looks a little like a penguin, but is more closely related to terns or gulls. It spends most of its time in the water. Murres can and do fly, but like penguins, they maneuver best in the water. Normally, the likelihood of a casual beachgoer seeing one ashore is slim.
Courtesy of advocate-news.com
A score of dead birds were found in an area of the beach of Ritoque, as confirmed by the Captaincy of Puerto de Quintero that received the complaint, a video recorded by those who were walking this Wednesday in the sector shows the animals scattered in the sand .
From the maritime authority they indicated that they referred the case to the Quillota provincial office of the Livestock Agricultural Service (SAG), who arrived with personnel from Quintero’s own headquarters to check the radius of about 70 meters in which the animals were found.
From the SAG, Javier Araya indicated that no evidence was found that third parties had intervened in the death of the birds, also ruled out intoxication or the presence of a disease that as a service they should report.
Courtesy of biobiochile.cl
Guillemot in flight ENGPPP00120111210122321
Local residents have reported seeing dozens of dead seabirds washed up on Hastings beach last Thursday and over the weekend.
The birds are thought to be cormorants or guillemots.
Local man Garry Jenner said: “There were up to 40 birds on the beach on Friday morning.”
It is believed that the appearance of the dead birds is a natural phenomena as a results of birds perishing in storms out to sea.
In 2015 our sister paper the Eastbourne Herald reported on an incident of dead guillemots being washed up at Seaford and Newhaven.
Trevor Weeks, of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service, said at the time: “Seabird wrecks is the term used when multiple dead and emaciated birds wash ashore and normally occur after rough weather at sea when flocks of seabirds lose track of the sources of fish they are following.
“The numbers seen on the Sussex coast are fairly low compared to incidents which have occurred over the past decade on the eastern coast where there have been a number of incidents where hundreds of birds have washed ashore dead.”
Courtesy of hastingsobserver.co.uk
The Crimean coast – the Spit Belyaus in the Donuzlav region – littered with dead birds
This is the agency QHA media , citing eyewitness accounts in social networks, reports ” DS “.
According to an eyewitness who wished to remain anonymous, dead ducks are on the entire bank of the spit from the side of Lake Donuzlav.
“They are lying everywhere: on the shore, in the water, on the road leading to the Sand Quarry, which is at the entrance to the lake. What happened – I do not understand, I was there a week ago, this was not,” the user writes.
Courtesy of dsnews.ua
Guillemots nesting in the Firth of Forth. About 2% of the global population is in the Dutch North Sea. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/The Guardian
Scientists are scrambling to understand the sudden death of an estimated 20,000 guillemots off the Dutch coast, hundreds of which are washing up on the country’s shoreline.
The bodies of the birds, which spend most of their lives at sea where they dive for their food, started emerging over the past month, from the Wadden Islands in the north to Zeeland in the south.
Mardik Leopold, a biologist from Wageningen University, said the Netherlands “had not seen such mass deaths since the 1980s and 1990s”, describing it as “rather a major incident”. Hundreds more sickly birds have been taken into sanctuaries for treatment.
“The working hypothesis is that it is a combination of bad weather plus something else, and we are trying to find the smoking gun,” Leopold said. “We have dissected some of the birds. They are clean but they were very skinny, with gut problems, which is indicative of starvation. But we need a larger sample and so have been asking people to collect birds for us.”
One possible cause of the seabird wreck – the technical term for such sudden unexplained mass deaths – is the contents of 291 containers lost from a large container ship during a storm on the night of 2 January, north of Ameland, an island north of Amsterdam.
A salvage operation to retrieve the containers belonging to the Mediterranean Shipping Company has so far involved 16 ships trawling the North Sea with the aid of an echo device, and is expected to last for another six months.
About 50 of the containers are still missing, but the operation is under time pressure as the heavy containers will sink into the sandy seabed.
“We don’t know exactly what was in the containers but there will inevitably be plastic and chemicals,” Leopold said. “What is strange is that I have been in contact with colleagues in Germany and Belgium, and they maybe have had one or two more dead birds, but nothing that has alarmed them.”
Veterinary pathologists are expected to dissect about 100 guillemots in the coming days in an attempt to uncover the problem.
“A dead bird is found on every kilometre of beach along the Dutch coast every day, and the rate is steady, it isn’t dropping off,” Leopold said.
Around 2% of the total guillemot population – more than 130,000 birds – is found in the Dutch North Sea, where a favourite habitat is the protected Frisian Front, north of the Wadden Islands.
Rough weather regularly leads to weaker birds washing up on the Dutch coast, but rarely in such large numbers. Guillemots, which breed among the cliffs, are vulnerable to human-caused pollution as they dive for their feed of fish and crustaceans.
Courtesy of theguardian.com
State and city officials said that at least 40 birds were found dead on beaches near Myrtle Beach over the weekend.
In a press release, the city of North Myrtle Beach spoke out to dispel rumors on social media about “hundreds” or “dozens” of birds found dead on the shore.
According to the city, three birds, including two pelicans, were found dead in one location and several others were found in another.
A South Carolina Department of Natural Resources representative told the city that he found 30 dead birds on the beaches on Saturday.
On Sunday, 10 more birds were found dead by a member of the city’s beach patrol.
Four species of birds are represented among those that died, including pelicans and seagulls.
Some on social media have suggested that the bird deaths are directly related to a diesel spill emanating from the beach renourishment dredge vessel located off our shore. The city says there has been no confirmation of any fuel spill or that the deaths are due to a fuel spill.
Several times on Sunday U.S. Coast Guard and SCDHEC personnel flew the coast from Myrtle Beach, SC to Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. looking for signs of diesel or other fuel spills on the water. They did not see any evidence of spills.
Courtesy of cbs17.com
Dozens of dead birds have been discovered along two bays on Auckland’s North Shore with fears they have been poisoned.
Beachgoers at Rothesay Bay and Brown’s Bay were alarmed to find the dead and dying birds, including rock pigeons and a black backed gull, scattered along the bays yesterday.
A North Shore woman who was out walking her dog feared the birds had been poisoned, and was concerned about dogs eating the poison as well.
She told the Herald she had seen more than 20 dead birds, and more were dying while she walked along the beach.
“One bird was still alive but it was dying right in front of us. I suspect someone has put poison down.”
She had contacted Auckland Council and the Department of Conservation.
DoC confirmed to the Herald it was investigating the deaths.
DoC ranger Alex Wilson said he collected 12 dead rock pigeons and a dead juvenile black backed gull that had been taken to a nearby veterinary clinic.
Black backed gulls were a native species, however they were very abundant and were not protected under the Wildlife Act 1953.
Rock pigeons were a non-protected introduced species.
The bird deaths come after dozens of birds died in two separate incidents in Auckland in September.
Courtesy of nzherald.co.nz
Tortoise was found dead by bather in Guarujá, SP – Photo: João Carlos Azevedo / Personal Archive
Another 12 marine animals were found dead on the shores of the coast of São Paulo, between Friday morning (24) and Saturday (25). The three turtles, seven penguins and two albatrosses were already in advanced stage of decomposition, and were collected by the Gremar Institute in cities of the Baixada Santista, to be taken for necropsy.
According to information from the biologist Greane, Rosane Farah, on Friday, two turtle-headed turtles (Caretta caretta) were found in Bertioga and Guarujá. The teams were able to identify that they are two males, one adult and one still young. Also a green turtle (Chelonia mydas) was collected in São Vicente and a penguin in Guarujá.
Courtesy of g1.globo.com