from mirakulu – 04/10/2007
Scientists baffled over seabird die-off on coast
Story Published: Apr 10, 2007 at 10:55 AM PDT
Story Updated: Apr 10, 2007 at 6:25 PM PDT
By Associated Press
ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) – Horned puffins, mottled petrels and thick-billed
murres are seabirds that generally stay far offshore and away from Oregon.
But the birds have been washing up dead on Oregon shores in unusually
high numbers this year. People who have discovered them say the birds
The die-off is a mystery. But theories range from global warming to a
scarcity of the herring the birds usually feed on this time of year.
Young herring thrive in colder water. A research fisheries biologist,
Bob Emmett, says their smaller numbers could be tied to warm ocean
conditions over recent years.
When herring do well, seabirds and salmon often do well, too. But when
they do not, Emmett says, the other species don’t, either.
Other researchers say the marine system is too complicated to blame
the bird deaths on a single cause.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)