A “Most Unusual Event”: Birds returning from Fukushima-area with troubling symptoms — Appear to not have been able to find food in North Pacific — “I’ve never seen birds in that poor of a condition come back to New Zealand”

Published: April 30th, 2012 at 12:00 am ET
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Title: Muttonbirds affected by Fukushima
Source: NZ Herald News
Author: Paul Harper
Date: 10:55 AM Monday Apr 30, 2012

Headline: Muttonbirds affected by Fukushima

Department of Conservation seabird researcher Graeme Taylor told Radio New Zealand

  • The birds return to New Zealand in November to mate, but [...] the ones that returned were in poor condition
  • “We won’t know if they’ve died up there in the north Pacific until another year goes by, because sometimes these birds skip a breeding season- where if they are in a poor condition they don’t attempt to breed, and so they may turn up again and breed”
  • “But if the birds never turn up again then you have to start to wonder what’s gone on with the population”
  • The drop in numbers was the “most unusual event” in 20 years of studies of the birds’ numbers
  • He said many of the birds which arrived back had old feathers on their tails, wings and body
  • “I’ve never seen birds in that poor of a condition come back to New Zealand”
  • He said the condition of muttonbirds suggested they did not get the food in the north Pacific they usually do

See also: 33% of prized bird species disappears after summer near Fukushima -- Those making it back "were in a poor condition" says New Zealand gov't researcher

Published: April 30th, 2012 at 12:00 am ET
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23 comments

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