Mass Die-Off of Puffins Raises Fears About Arctic's Warming Climate

"The story of the seabirds’ deaths likely starts at the bottom of the food chain, where warming water and climate change are changing the menu."

"The bodies started washing ashore on St. Paul Island, Alaska, in October 2016. One after another, the small carcasses of seabirds—mostly puffins—landed on the beach in extraordinary numbers.

The people of St. Paul Island, an Aleut community in the Bering Sea, are accustomed to seeing a lot of birds—millions stop there during their annual migrations. But they're not used to seeing them like this. What was happening in October 2016 was the beginning of a mass die-off. Thousands of tufted puffins were dying for no apparent reason, except for maybe one: changes in the ecosystem due to climate change.

'There's no way to avoid that something is going on here,' said Julia Parrish, a professor of ocean fishery sciences at the University of Washington and the executive director of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST). 'The ocean is screaming.'"

Sabrina Shankman reports for InsideClimate News May 29, 2019.

Source: InsideClimate News, 05/30/2019