A very saddening revelation has come to light. Tufted puffins–black and white birds with large orange beaks–are dying in big numbers, all thanks to climate change.
This was disclosed in 2016 when researchers found about 350 dead puffins in St. Paul Island in Alaska. St. Paul is the largest of the four Pribilof islands, which together support more than two million seabirds. According to this research, it was estimated that birds ranging anywhere from 3,150 to 8,800 died between October 2016 to January 2017.
The increase in the water level and warmer Arctic waters is causing the fish to migrate to the North, resulting in the birds starving to death due to lack of food.
Mass mortality events are increasing in frequency and magnitude, potentially linked with ongoing climate change. These ‘massive mortality events’ — defined as catastrophic, but often short-lived, periods of elevated mortality — can affect substantial proportions of a population, occasionally with long-term consequences to population size.
Moreover, the report also suggested that the puffins were severely underweight, which indicated an inadequate amount of food consumption. This was accumulated with them having feather regrowth, making flying quite difficult for them.
The mass deaths of such species at such an alarming rate is something that shouldn’t be avoided.