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US Bird Numbers Drop By Nearly Three Billion In 48 Years

LONDON, 22 September, 2019 − America’s birds have taken wing. Ornithologists calculate that in the past 48 years, total US bird numbers, reckoned together with Canada’s, have fallen drastically. There are now 2.9 billion birds fewer haunting North America’s marshes, forests, prairies, deserts and snows than there were in 1970. That is, more than one in four has flown away, perhaps forever. Birds are one of the better observed species. Enthusiastic amateurs and trained professionals have been carefully keeping note of bird numbers and behaviour for a century or more. A flock of avian scientists reports in the journal Science that they looked at numbers for 529 species of bird in the continental US and Canada to find that while around 100 native species had shown a small increase, a total of 419 native migratory species had experienced dramatic losses.

Sick Seabirds Warn Of Plastic Pollution In The Oceans

It’s a late May night on Lord Howe Island, and the moon gleams across the volcanic mountains and white sand beaches of this six-mile long isle off the east coast of Australia. While most people are tucked inside their houses or hotels, conservation biologist Dr. Jennifer Lavers and her colleague, naturalist Ian Hutton, don headlamps and bike to the flesh-footed shearwater colony on the northeast side of the island. Lord Howe Island is one of the two main breeding areas for this seabird in the southwest Pacific Ocean (the other is in northern New Zealand). Tonight the colony bustles with 90-day-old chicks flapping their wings as they prepare for their first 6,500-mile flight north to the Bering Sea. Even though many seabirds are affected by plastic pollution, the plight flesh-footed shearwater illustrates how widespread the problem is. Lavers and Hutton set up a makeshift research station in the colony, and handpick chicks to weigh, measure, and take feather samples. They also undertake a lavage process, guiding a tube down each bird’s throat to flush out its stomach contents. This part may seem gruesome, but the lavage provides important information about shearwater diet and nutrition. If a fledgling’s parents fed it well, it will regurgitate natural food sources like squid and fish. But more often than not, chicks will cough up something that does not belong in their stomachs – plastic.

Study Estimates BP Spill Killed Over 800,000 Birds

Between 600,000 and 800,000 birds have died along the Gulf Coast as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, according to a study to be released this summer by the Marine Ecology Progress Series. Pascagoula River Audubon Center Director Mark LaSalle believes the total is in the seven-figure range. Whatever the number, LaSalle said the massive loss is a "major blow" to the ecosystem. "It's hard to put it into context," he said, adding "we may not ever know exactly how many" birds died as a result of the spill. Although the numbers give insight into the total damage, this study was conducted independently. BP will be responsible only for damage determined by the Natural Resource Damage Assessment study. LaSalle said the official NRDA results aren't expected to be available to the public until the legal process is completed. In April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico south of Louisiana, releasing nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the ocean, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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