AP, Mar 24, 2016 (emphasis added): Alaska’s massive seabird die-off spreads… Federal biologists last week walked… Katmai National Park and counted 2,000 dead seabirds… “[That's only] a hint of what probably was there… every beach we looked at had dead birds” [US Fish & Wildlife Service's Robb Kaler said]… “if we had rakes we would have found a lot more,” [said retired USGS biologist Tony DeGange]… [Officials surveyed the area] in 2009 and 2012 [and] counted zero and 14 common murres… Last week [they] counted hundreds.
AP, Mar 24, 2016: Seabird die-off takes twist… thousands of common murres were found dead [in an Alaskan] lake… experts were puzzled. “We’ve talked about unprecedented things about this die off. That’s another one,” said [USGS biologist] John Piatt… “6,000, 8,000 birds in the lake is pretty mind-blowing, really… I’ve never heard of any such a thing anywhere in the world.”… [F]ederal agencies are trying to determine if the murre deaths are connected to lack of food… or something else…”This is the thing about this die-off,” Piatt said. “We don’t even know what we don’t know.”
KTVF, Mar 18, 2016: Thousands of Alaska birds dying mysteriously — The massive die-off… continues to surprise federal scientists. The latest twist was the discovery of thousands of carcasses of common murres along a freshwater Alaska lake… [USGS's John Piatt said] to have more than 6,000 in a lake mind-blowing.
KTUU, Mar 19, 2016: According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Common Murre [spends] winter at sea, making inland discoveries… that much more alarming.
AP, Mar 15, 2016: Alaska scientists continue researching seabird death mystery… Die-offs have occurred before but not on this magnitude… Numbers spiked to alarming levels in early winter. The confirmed carcass count is now up to 36,000, [USGS wildlife biologist Sarah Schoen] said. That’s far higher than previous common murre die-offs and many beaches have not been surveyed… Though the murres appear to have starved, researchers wonder if something caused them to quit eating or to be less successful funding food… Some details are emerging… The sampled birds also were heavier than birds sampled in a 1993 die-off… “So it doesn’t look like just starvation is killing them,” Schoen said. “It looks like there’s something else that could be tipping them over the edge.”
KTVA, Mar 9, 2016: It’s one of the biggest mysteries Alaska has seen for some time… Scientists say the die-off of Murres was the biggest they’ve ever seen [and] 500,000 Murres may have died… “they actually have empty stomachs, so we aren’t finding any food,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Elizabeth Labunski. Scientists say something is keeping the birds from reaching their food source, which suggests there could be a bigger problem with the ocean itself. “I think an alarm bell should go off because these are indicator species about what’s going on in the ocean”… said Fish and Wildlife biologist Kathy Kuletz. Kuletz said the bird die-off could have implications for other species… And she doesn’t think the die-off is over.
Naomi McMullen, Environmental Coordinator Native Village of Port Graham (Alaska), Jan 6, 2016: [Community members] have seen more dead murres… [One] said there was a beach full of dead birds. We have seen some that looked very sick and unaware.
Arlene Shimanek & Alice Julius, Native Village of Goodnews Bay (Alaska), Aug 21, 2015: [A] resident had observed countless dead seagulls and other sea birds that were found dead. The amount she had seen was countless… birds were acting weird, sick… too weak to fly.
Nancy Yeaton, Nanwalek IRA Council (Alaska), Aug 17, 2015: Dead Birds (Murres)… 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?
Published: March 29th, 2016 at 1:13 pm ET
- “Countless” dead birds reported in Pacific off US coast, nothing will eat the bodies — “There are no seals present” — Expert: “The fish are not there… all of them are starving” — Animals “acting weird, sick and weak, too weak to fly, too weak to run” — Resident: We want to know if it’s from Fukushima (VIDEO) September 15, 2015
- NOAA: Beaches full of dead baby sea lions off California, many aborted fetuses — Garbage bags filled with animals along coast — Carts in freezer overflowing with bodies — Official: Pollution may well have had an effect… We deliberately didn’t test for it (VIDEO) June 8, 2015
- TV: “Carcasses littering beaches for miles” on Pacific coast of Alaska — “Complete reproductive failure” — “Horrifying… Horrid… Mind-boggling… Off the charts” — Unprecedented die-off “has potential to be biggest mortality event in state history” — “The most extreme I’ve ever seen” (VIDEOS) January 13, 2016
- Official: “Thousands of Millions” of fish wash up dead in Alaska — Piles of them… I have never seen anything like it… First time we’ve ever heard of this (VIDEO) August 18, 2015
- Unprecedented: ‘Cataclysmic’ die-off of birds on entire West Coast — Beaches covered with dead bodies — Professor: It’s tragic… never seen anything like this… We ignore it at our peril… Canary in the coalmine for us… Scrambling to figure out what’s going on with ecosystem (VIDEOS) January 8, 2015