Thousands of birds perished in the Bering Sea. Arctic warming may be to blame


WASHED ASHORE On October 19, 2016, inhabitants of St. Paul Island in Alaska found these 19 tufted puffins on the island’s North Beach. The birds were emaciated and may have died of starvation as a result of climate change. ALEUT COMMUNITY OF ST PAUL ISLAND ECOSYSTEM CONSERVATION OFFICE
Emaciated puffins and other birds washed ashore on an Alaskan island in unusually high numbers

By Carolyn Gramling | ScienceNews

Thousands of puffins and other seabirds in the Bering Sea appear to have died in the winter of 2016 to 2017. The birds look like they starved to death, but the ultimate culprit was probably climate change, scientists say.

From October 2016 to January 2017, more than 350 dead birds, mostly tufted puffins, washed ashore at St. Paul Island, Alaska, on the Bering Sea. The birds were emaciated, and many had been molting when they perished. The period when birds regrow new coats of feathers is a particularly high-stress time for puffins and other birds because the animals need extra food while also being temporarily unable to fly.

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