Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cassin’s Auklets Wreck Hits Bayocean

This winter tens of thousands of dead Cassin's Auklets have appeared on beaches all along the Pacific Coast, 10 to 100 times normal rates, according to the University of Washington report "Cassin's Auklet North Pacific Winter Wreck 2014-2015". Volunteers with COASST and CoastWatch have been collecting and counting specimens, many of which were autopsied to determine cause of death. Audubon Magazine's "Lost at Sea: Starving Birds in a Warming World" agrees with UW and others that the dead birds are juveniles who starved for reasons associated with global warming.

Photo by D. Derickson of COASST

Unfortunately, Bayocean participated in this "wreck". In a CoastWatch report on December 26, 2014, Cape Meares resident Olli Olikainen counted 126 dead auklets along Mile 289, which is at the northern end of the ocean side of the spit, and 121 dead auklets along Mile 286.  The Cape Meares Community Association web site lists others who helped out: Keith and Anita Johanson, BJ Byron, Kevin and Kathy Burke, Carolyn Olikainen, Wendy Kunkel, Dave Audet, John Harland, Ciel Downing, Rod Pelson, and Pete Steen. Thanks to all of you for doing this unpleasant but important work.

The good new is that Olli saw no dead birds on March 30, 2015 , just a few remaining bones and feathers. Hopefully all  seen on Bayocean in the future will be flying by like little tennis balls against the backdrop of a coastal sunset.

Photo by Jamie Chavez via Flickr Creative Commons
Photo by Julio Mulero via Flickr Creative Commons


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