Dead seabirds wash up on regional shores
By Diana Haecker
Starting last week, regional residents reported numerous dead seabirds washing up on regional beaches. UAF Alaska Sea Grant Agent Gay Sheffield said the uptick in washed up sea bird carcasses on beaches started last week, July 28. Different species of sea birds were washed on to beaches at Golovin, Solomon, Nome and a dead murre was reportedly found on a beach at Little Diomede.
On Monday, August 2, a Nome resident found 15 dead birds on a 7.2 mile-stretch at Nome’s West Beach. The birds were one horned puffin, six murres, seven shearwaters and one kittiwake.
Sheffield said multiple species were found dead and that preliminary analysis found them in a severely emaciated state. Bird carcasses will be shipped to the federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which will then send the bodies to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center Lab in Madison, Wisconsin. There, the birds will be examined for disease or harmful algal biotoxins. Sheffield urges the public to report sightings of dead sea birds, to take photos, to note the location and if possible, to bag any freshly dead bird and bring it in for analysis. Report the strandings to Gay Sheffield, UAF Sea Grant Alaska, 907-434-1149 or to Kawerak Subsistence Director Brandon Ahmasuk at 907-443- 4265 or 907-434-2951.