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Thousands of dead sea birds found washed up in Western Alaska, USA

Seabirds in the state are washing up on beaches once again, this time in Western Alaska, in numbers estimated to be in the thousands.

The reason why they’re dying has been determined, but the true cause behind the die-off has scientists investigating further into the pattern.

“The results come back pretty quickly. Currently, they determined the cause of death appears to be due to emaciation, starvation.”

That’s Robb Kaler, a wildlife biologist at USFWS’s Migratory Bird office in Anchorage. He said one of the birds has been sent in and tested, and another six are on the way.

While labs and scientists can see the cause of death due to a number of contributing physical factors, how they got that way is another question; one that experts don’t yet have the definitive answer to.

“There’s probably multiple factors at play. You’ve got birds that are starving, so we know why they’re dying, they’re dying of starvation,” Kaler said. “But the question is, why are they not able to find food? What’s happening?”

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95 dead sea birds found washed up on Black Isle beach in Scotland

Some of the dead birds that washed ashore near Chanonry Point.
In recent weeks, walkers treading the beach have been greeted by the grim sight of dozens of bird corpses, guillemots and razorbills among them.
It is thought they were overcome by the rough winter weather and starvation brought on by their inability to feed. A team of volunteers has now taken on the grizzly task of clearing the corpses from the beach after taking to the sands last Friday for a clean-up operation.
A spokesman for Fortrose and Rosemarkie Community Council said: “The number of dead birds littering our beautiful coastline is a cause for concern. There has sadly been a surge caused by severe weather.
“Sadly a large number of birds have been caught up in these storms, some injured – fatally – and then washed up on the shore.
“The community council contacted Highland Council to ask if the birds could be cleared but this wouldn’t fall under the remit of ‘rubbish’ clearance.
“Dead birds don’t fall under the remit of the RSPB either – they are a conservation charity. So, rather than wait, heroic community volunteers cleared 95 – yes, 95 – birds from the beach between the golf club and the lighthouse.
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100 dead sea birds found, ‘never seen anything like it’, on Navarre beach, Florida, USA

Courtesy of Robin Otto
Navarre resident Robin Otto has woken up to something very strange all week long.
When stepping out onto Navarre Beach, which Otto’s home overlooks, she said she’s spotted “about 50-100” dead birds within a one-mile radius just west of Public Access 37-C. 
Otto said that on Thursday alone she counted 61 dead birds in that radius. A resident of Navarre Beach since 1985, she said she’s never seen anything like it. 
“I’ve seen, like, four different species of birds, predominantly two different types,” Otto said. “When the tide goes out, it takes some of them out with it. There are so many that people are starting to bury them so people aren’t stepping on them. They range anywhere from what appear to be babies to adults. Just extremely odd.”
Otto, who said she’s been snapping photos all week, said she reported the peculiar issue to the Navarre Beach Department as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
She also reached out to the Florida Audubon, which responded with some analysis in an email Friday morning. 
“We have had a particularly bad fallout this year and I know FWC is looking into it. We tend to get some dead birds each spring as they migrate from their wintering grounds to the breeding grounds but this year it has been higher than usual,” said Caroline Stahala with the Florida Audubon, in an email to Otto. “I appreciate the pictures and they will certainly be helpful as we investigate the causes of the severity this year.”
A spokesperson with the FWC said the organization’s biologists are aware of the situation and are looking to gather information, however, FWC Law Enforcement is not investigating the incident.
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Thousands of sea birds and fish dead due to oil spill in northern Colombia

Fish Kill Alert

Thousands of sea birds and fish dead due to oil spill in northern Colombia

Dozens of dead sea birds found on a beach in Novorossiysk, Russia

В Новороссийске с пляжа в Мысхако вывезли всех мертвых птиц: в ветуправлении не успели их исследовать на инфекции
On March 22, 2018, the residents of the village of Myskhako, near Novorossiysk, addressed the editorial board of OUR . They said that several dozen dead ducks were found on the central beach . In their opinion, the mass death of birds is associated with environmental pollution. On the same day, photo correspondent Nashi went to the beach and counted three dozen bodies of waterfowl. He took the dead birds in the photo and video. As told by OUR member of the Public Ecological Council under the Governor of the Krasnodar Territory Veniamin Golubitchenko, dead birds were black-necked grebes. In his opinion, a fever killed some disease or poisoning. However, in the State Administration of Veterinary Administration of Novorossiysk , Nasha was informed that the specialists of the department had left for the beach, but did not find a single dead bird to investigate their remains for infection. It turned out that the beach was cleared by the request of the administration of Myskhako. Utilization of the remains of birds. 
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Hundreds of sea birds wash up dead along coast of Scotland

Dead puffins
Scientists, who have sought reports of similar cases from across the UK, said the guillemots, razorbills and puffins died due to recent bad weather.
Heavy seas had prevented them from feeding, while low temperatures had further reduced the starving, wave-soaked birds’ chances of survival.
The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) has sought information on discoveries of dead seabirds.
CEH said weather dubbed “The Beast from the East” followed closely by the “Mini Beast from the East” brought a “bad combination” of low temperatures, high winds and rough seas.
The centre, whose work includes monitoring the Isle of May National Nature Reserve in the Firth of Forth, said it had already gathered reports of more than 300 dead birds washing up along the east coast.
It said the birds were mainly young guillemots and razorbills, but also shags, cormorants and puffins.
The problems have come as seabirds prepare for the new breeding season.
CEH suspects birds have been dying off in other parts of Scotland and across the UK.
Courtesy of BBC News

Dozens of dead sea birds and dead seals wash ashore in Coronado, California, USA

The scene on my walk yesterday morning was much different than in days past. It started out at the surfer statue in Imperial Beach as it had in the past; two friends and I headed north on the sand and moved down near the water where the sand was firm. A couple hundred yards past the rock jetty and we see a dead bird. While that’s not something we normally see on our Coronado walks nor was it something we had seen on previous walks, it was just one bird. Until it wasn’t.
The further we walked, the more dead birds we saw, not one or two but over two dozen between the jetty and the Coronado Cays beach public restroom area. I spoke with one of the State Park Rangers asking him if he had noticed an increase in the number of dead birds recently, and he said, “Oh yes, dead birds up and down the beach,” indicating there were more north of what I had already seen. I asked if he cleaned them up as I noticed trash bags in his electric cart. He told me, “No, we are told not to touch them even with the tools we have for trash collection.” They also don’t remove the dead seals, of which we saw four.
When it became clear to me I needed to document these findings I could not help but think of the Navy SEALs who train in the water. I had asked a neighbor just last week who is a SEAL if there were any changes to the training when the water is deemed contaminated and he told me, “Not that I know of,” and when I asked if he was concerned he replied, “Not at all!” No sooner had this thought popped into my mind that I looked back down the beach to see two teams heading into the same ocean water that most likely had something to do with the dead birds and seals that I was walking around.
I asked a fisherman who fishes the shore frequently if he had noticed an increase in dead birds, and he responded, “I noticed a lot of feathers coming back when I was reeling in, not something I usually experience.” He went on to blame Governor Brown for not doing something.
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Hundreds of dead and starving seabirds wash up on Tasman beaches in New Zealand

Hundreds of dead and sick fairy pirons are washing up around Tasman shores.
Photo By Diane Sowman
Hundreds of dead and starving seabirds are washing up around Tasman’s shoreline.
The rise in seawater temperatures could be to blame for hundreds of dead fairy prions washing up along the beaches in Tasman and Golden Bay.
There have been reports of people finding hundreds of dead, dehydrated and starving seabirds across the entire Tasman Bay, and all the way to Wharariki in Golden Bay.
Some are dropping the blue-grey birds to Natureland Wildlife Trust, in Nelson.
Director Meg Rutledge said they were currently caring for 13 dehydrated and starving birds, with more expected to arrive.
“It’s not the first time historically that there have been such mass dying off of birds,” she said.
“The cause can be things like bad weather, or high heat that has affected the movement of their food sources so they are going hungry.”
She had been getting reports of the birds all around Tasman Bay getting into trouble on the shore break, and then washing up on the sand.
“There are many that have passed away. Some are dehydrated from lack of food, and some that are fit enough to make a full recovery.”
They were working with Department of Conservation (DOC) to make sure the birds were getting the right treatment at Natureland.
“Seabirds are a bit trickier, they are a harder to care for because their diet requires vitamins that can’t easily be substituted,” Rutledge said. “Those vitamins help their glands stimulate the waterproof quality of their feathers.”
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Hundreds of dead sea birds and pufferfish wash up in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand

Hundreds of dead birds have washed up in Mount Maunganui and there have been more reports of dead poisonous pufferfish found along the Bay of Plenty coastline.
The Western Bay Wildlife Trust had received “mass” reports of shearwaters, petrels, prions, shags and penguins washed ashore and 38 pufferfish had been collected on Mount Main Beach.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council regulatory compliance team leader Chris Brewer said 18 pufferfish were collected between the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service and Leisure Island on Wednesday and another 20 were picked up between the Mount track and Shark Alley yesterday.
Brewer said the pufferfish had now been disposed of at the landfill.
The regional council’s senior environmental scientist, Stephen Parker, said the council had also received reports of porcupine fish washing up between Bowentown and Waihi Beach.
Parker said it was common for a range of wildlife to wash up on beaches after severe weather and where they washed up was usually determined by the direction of the storm or swell.
“The locations where these fish are washing up is where we would expect them to from the northerly weather patterns we are experiencing,” Parker said.
“We advise people and pets to keep as safe distance and not touch the fish as they have a neurotoxin in their skin and intestines.”
Tauranga marine ecologist Professor Chris Battershill said he had found about five porcupine fish every 200m along the beach halfway between the Mount and Papamoa which were all “on the small size for their species”.
Battershill said it was good the pufferfish had been taken off the beach. “MPI [Ministry of Primary Industries] are screening them for other toxins in case they have succumbed to something other than storms.”
Western Bay Wildlife Trust chairwoman Julia Graham said there had been a mass seabird mortality with many dead or dying birds being washed up on the beach.
“[There are] hundreds in the Mount alone but thousands up the coastline. I have been getting reports from Warkworth through to Whakatane of mass deaths of shearwaters, petrels, prions, shags, penguins and pufferfish,” she said.
“Many of these are juveniles that cannot survive in this rough weather and episodes of mass die-off are a natural course of events.”
Graham said the Western Bay Wildlife Trust and Arrc Wildlife Trust were handling exceptionally high volumes of birds needing care.
“Our volunteers work long hours and do everything that they can but we are extremely stretched and we need your help.”
Heidi Omundsen said she had found “tonnes” of spiked pufferfish along Bowentown beach and had warned a boy from picking one up.
“They were along the high tide mark, most of them were by the Bowentown headland,” she said.
Omundsen said she had phoned the council who told her staff had been dealing with numerous reports of pufferfish sightings along the region’s beaches.
“We are keeping our dog off the beach,” she said.
The Ministry of Primary Industries has also been contacted for comment.
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