Hundreds of Dead Birds Wash Ashore Mysteriously on Danish Coast

CC BY-SA 3.0 / Jerzy Strzelecki / Little Auk Alle alle, SpitsbergenLittle Auk Alle alle, Spitsbergen
Little Auk Alle alle, Spitsbergen - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.02.2022
The dead birds, ranging from guillemots to puffins and gulls, appear to have been hit by an unlucky combination of starvation and stormy weather.
Hundreds of dead birds have washed ashore on the the island of Fanø in the North Sea off the coast of Jutland in Denmark in recent days.
Researcher Kim Fischer alone has collected some 200 different seabirds at Fanø, Danish Radio reported. The vast majority are guillemots of the auk family, but dead puffins and gulls were also found. The birds will now be sent to Aarhus University, where they will be examined in more detail.
According to Fischer, new birds are found every day.
“This is really violent, and it indicates that many of the auks that are out in the North Sea are dying right now,” Fischer mused.
Ib Krag Petersen, a senior researcher at the Department of Ecoscience at Aarhus University and a specialist in seabirds, called the situation on Denmark's West Coast serious.

“The Fanø case is very significant. There are many birds,” he said.
A preliminary conjecture is that the birds may have died of an unlucky combination of too little food and abundant storms, Ib Krag Petersen assessed.
“If the birds are physically affected and emaciated because there is not enough food – which seems to be the case – and they are hit by a hurricane, more birds will be challenged and probably die during the storm”, Krag Petersen explained.
The Netherlands, Belgium, England and Scotland also report an abnormal number of birds drifting ashore and dying right now. A similar situation occurred back in 2007, when hundreds of dead auks drifted ashore in Denmark. In 2007, marine biologists in Northern Europe sounded the alarm because the North Sea's fish-eating seabirds, ranging from gulls to puffins and guillemots over a huge area from Iceland to the Faroe Islands, Scotland and Norway, lacked food to the point where many colonies failed to bring out nestlings.
Earlier this month, around 200 birds were found dead on a road in Pembrokeshire, Wales, with no clear cause of death.
According to Ib Krag Petersen, climate change may also be part of the equation.

“The birds are adapted to the conditions in which they live. If conditions change, the birds will be challenged. And it can become an issue of life and death,” he added.

The guillemot, also known as the murre, is superficially similar to a penguin in its black-and-white colouring. They spend most of their life at sea and are formidable swimmers and divers, but appear rather awkward on the ground.
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала