KGW, Aug 25, 2015 (emphasis added): Birds dying of starvation along coast — Hundreds of birds are washing ashore either dead or dying along the Oregon and Southwest Washington Coast. The majority of them are common murres… Researchers say that the die-off started about three weeks ago… the Wildlife Center of the North Coast [says] Almost all of them are starving. “They’re totally emaciated…” said Laurel Berblinger, a volunteer at the center. According to the biologists, the fish the birds normally eat are not there… with so many dead birds along the beaches now, it’s important to keep children and dogs away… Biologists say they are bracing for a lot more of this.
KBBI, Aug 4, 2015: The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge is receiving multiple reports indicating a significant increase in dead and dying birds found on beaches in the Homer area… [Biologist Leslie] Slater says… “What we’re seeing more precisely is that birds seem to be starving.”… These deaths don’t seem to be isolated to Homer’s beaches. There are reports of similar deaths down the Alaska Peninsula and the eastern edge of the Aleutians. Slater says it’s possible they could be related to dead whales.
NBC News, Sep 12 2015: Toxic Algae May Threaten West Coast Marine Economy for Years… the toxic bloom could last through 2016, said Raphael Kudela, a professor of ocean ecology at the University of California Santa Cruz… “that would be pretty much unprecedented to have blooms two years in a row.” The size of the bloom and the amount of time it has lasted in the ocean are already unprecedented… Scientists had previously believed that domoic acid was water soluble—meaning that it could be flushed out of the bodies of animals that ingested it, Kudela said. But researchers have since observed domoic acid building up in the tissues of fish… the toxin may be spreading to a wider array of marine life than they had previously thought was possible. “That really suggests that it is really going to work its way through the food web,” Kudela told CNBC… [Dan Ayres, a coastal shellfish lead biologist with the Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife] said that if ocean waters remain warm in future years—the effects could be severe and impact the whole ocean food web.
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium – Local Environmental Observer reports:
> Aug 2, 2015: Dead birds – Sand Point, Alaska — When going on her evening walk in the boat harbor, Tiffany Jackson noticed a dead bird floating in the water. This is just one of many dead birds spotted in the boat harbor this summer… With finding all these dead birds in the harbor, we are wondering if there is some kind of virus or sickness in these birds.
> Aug 17, 2015: Bird die-offs – Port Heiden, Alaska — [Residents] noticed that there were several dead birds washing ashore in the last month with an increase in numbers in the past week… This year seems to be different than the past – several sea birds washing up, other animals are not eating the washed up carcasses and no seals are swimming along the shore or the mouth of the river. Community members do not know what is killing the sea birds – or why there are not seals present and are wondering why and if other communities are experiencing the same?
> Aug 17, 2015: Low seal numbers – Port Heiden, Alaska — Residents have noticed a decrease in the number of seals up and down the shoreline outside of Port Heiden. This year some residents have not seen one seal, and have noticed a large number of dead sea birds washing up along the shore.
> Aug 17, 2015: Murre deaths – Nanwalek, Alaska — A common murre or common guillemot (Uria aalge) was found on August 17, 2015 alone the shores of Nanwalek; this one was chewed on when we found it and the other murre was reported on 8/21/15… We want to be kept appraised of these impacts whether it is an algae bloom/PSP related event or potentially related to the Fukushima Power plant (earth quake) disaster?
> Aug 21, 2015: Dead sea birds – Goodnews Bay, Alaska — Resident had observed countless dead seagulls and other sea birds that were found dead. The amount she had seen was countless, she also said that some of the birds were acting weird, sick and weak, too weak to fly and too weak to run. The death of these birds could affect the other sea animals, and then there would be a huge die off of all the other sea animals.
Published: September 15th, 2015 at 12:16 am ET