Mar 13 2012

Half The Seabirds Are In Decline

Published by at 7:00 am under Water and Shore

Though seabirds make up only 3.5% of the world’s bird species, a new study by BirdLife International has found they’re the most threatened group of birds on the planet.

Of the 346 seabird species, including albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters and storm-petrels, half are in decline.  More than half of those (28% total) are at the highest risk level.

Albatrosses could well be the first to disappear.  17 of the 22 species of albatross are threatened with extinction.

The threats come from starvation in over-fished areas, death at the hands of huge commercial fishing operations, and nest failure at their breeding colonies from rats and feral cats.

These threats are induced by humans.  With some effort we could fix them.   For example, some of the breeding colonies have been saved through island rat eradication efforts.

I’ve never seen an albatross but I know the world would be a poorer place without them.

(photo of the critically endangered Amsterdam Albatross by Vincent Legendre on Wikimedia Commons.  Click on the photo to see its original)

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Half The Seabirds Are In Decline”

  1. Libby Strizzion 13 Mar 2012 at 11:15 am

    Your blog today is a sad thing. Reminded me of something I read a year or more ago about young albatrosses helpless in their nests. They couldn’t fly away, and rats just ate them, sitting there alive & helpless. That horrible picture has stayed and stayed with me. Anyway to contribute to or help this problem? That’s a cause I sure could support.

  2. Alexon 13 Mar 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Me too. I know we’re all on top of the peregrines here in Pittsburgh but I’m from the Jersey shore and I love even the most common seagulls. this is so sad to me personally.

  3. kcon 13 Mar 2012 at 4:23 pm

    A local NJ photographer who travels extensively made a trip to Midway Atoll last March during the albatross breeding season. He posted his photos bit by bit and it became quite an educational event. Here is a link to the photos from his trip. They might be overwhelming as a set, but worth a little effort to pile through in my humble opinion. I know that the fate of albatrosses is dim, but these photos are full of beauty, energy and intrigue.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jggilbert/sets/72157626224419365/

  4. kcon 13 Mar 2012 at 4:33 pm

    ps—If you investigate the link above, note that the photographer often adds interesting information regarding each photo opportunity in the comments area.

  5. Kate St. Johnon 13 Mar 2012 at 9:23 pm

    The RSPB (Royal Society for the Preservation of Birds) in the UK and BirdLife International have a campaign called Save The Albatross. Their website has lots of good information on what they’re doing and how you can help at
    http://www.rspb.org.uk/supporting/campaigns/albatross/

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