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Seabirds Starving Off Western North America

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  • Chuck & Lillian
    Birders, This may be of interest to you. Chuck Almdale Santa Monica, Ca ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ From World Birdwatch , publication of Birdlife
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 9, 2005
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      Birders,
      This may be of interest to you.
      Chuck Almdale
      Santa Monica, Ca
      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      From "World Birdwatch", publication of Birdlife International
      Vol. 27, No. 3 - September 2005 - page 6

      Seabirds Starving Off Western North America
      In a parallel situation to that reported in the North Sea in 2004 (see World Birdwatch 26(4): 4-5), seabirds are having a disastrous breeding season off the west coast of North America, with some species recording their worst breeding seasons ever. The 500,000 pairs - half the world population - of Cassin's Auklets Ptychoramphus aleuticus breeding on Triangle Island, near Vancouver, Canada, are unlikely to produce a single fledged chick this year, and many adults are starving. Those nesting in the Farallon Islands west of San Francisco, USA have abandoned their colonies for the first time in the 35 years they have been monitored. Other seabirds affected include Tufted Puffin Fratercula cirrhata, Rhinoceros Auklet Cerorhinca monocerata, Common Guillemot Uria aalge, and Brandt's and Double-crested Cormorants Phalacrocorax penicillatus and P. auritus.
      The problem is a collapse in populations of oceanic plankton, which form the basis of the coastal ecosystem's food-chain. No plankton means no food for krill which seabirds and other marine creatures rely on for food. Plankton multiply rapidly in cold-water upwellings, but this year sea temperatures have been at a 50-year high, some 2-5 degrees C above normal, a phenomenon associated with El Nino events, although this is not an El Nino year. Many scientists are blaming the raised sea temperatures on global warming. Recently, Fisheries and Oceans Canada released a report saying 2004's spring and summer ocean surface temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska and off British Columbia were the warmest in 50 years, and concluded the record temperatures were caused by abnormally warm weather in Alaska and western Canada, plus a general warming of global lands and oceans.


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