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Die-off of birds all over Alaska beaches, floating in Pacific — “They seem to be starving” — Record-breaking spike in rescues, “such a dramatic increase” — Deformed and abnormal animals reported (PHOTOS & AUDIO)

Published: August 8th, 2015 at 10:30 pm ET
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KBBI, Aug 4, 2015 (emphasis added): Bird Death Reports Are Up In Homer, Food Sources Possibly To Blame — The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge is receiving multiple reports indicating a significant increase in dead and dying birds found on beaches… Leslie Slater is the Gulf of Alaska Unit Biologist for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge… says there are a lot of potential reasons for the increase in fatalities but the prevailing cause is likely tied to the birds’ food sources. “What we’re seeing more precisely is that birds seem to be starving. That’s sort of the ultimate cause of their deaths but something might be happening before that… biotoxins can build up through the food chain and ultimately cause the deaths of these birds.” 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 found near Kodiak… She warns the public not to touch dead birds because they could be carrying disease.

KHNS, Jul 13, 2015: The American Bald Eagle Foundation in Haines has seen such a dramatic increase in bird rescues that they’re asking for the public’s help [to] respond to the unusually high number of injured birds… “Yeah it’s been a wave of birds, just very intense,” said raptor curator Chloe Goodson… in the past, they’ve been called to one or two bird rescues throughout the entire year… “Recently there’s just been an explosion of birds,” Goodson said… Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka [said] that June was their busiest month ever… they don’t know what is causing the dramatic increase… “food availability might not be as good as it has been in previous years.”… bird watcher and counter Pam Randles [says] she’s observed more desperate behavior in birds searching for food. She’s seen birds fighting over food, eagles trying to steal fish from people, and other risky behavior…

Alaska Raptor Center, Jul 7, 2015: … the busiest June we’ve ever had with 20 bald eagles arriving with injuries or illness. July looks to be even busier with six eagles already…

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium reports:

  • Aleutian-Pribilof region, AKBird die-off… There has been a number of dead herring gulls seen around town. The ones I have seen do not have any animal attack marks.
  • Aleutian-Pribilof region, AKBird die-off… there were reports from our Executive Director, that while she was on her regular evening walk, she was spotting dead birds, mostly seagulls and magpies. She said most of which either had no head and looked as if no other animal has touched them… The community is concerned if whether or not there is a sickness in these birds causing them to die.
  • Near Pribilof Islands, AK… You may have already heard about this die‐off, lots of talk in the Alaska seabird researcher community. So far birds reported floating at sea, found by researchers doing ship transects.
  • King Salmon, AK… Bald eagle observed with facial abnormality… with large growth on its right eye. They were wondering what the growth on the Eagle could possibly be?
  • Anchorage, AK… I have been seeing this bird every day… It has a very long bill or beak. He sticks in his beak, gets the seed out of the feeder and then has to throw his head back to get it down to his mouth… and drops alot of seeds… He also has trouble storing his feed in the tree. This is the first time I have seen a nuthatch like this. In the twenty years I have had my feeder, this is the first bird I have seen a bird with a deformed beak.

KBBI broadcast here

Published: August 8th, 2015 at 10:30 pm ET
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270 comments

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