Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dying in Fish Guts

Dave of Bird TLC pointed out this sad story from the Anchorage Daily News:

About 50 eagles were watching and waiting for a meal outside the Ocean Beauty Seafoods plant when the uncovered dump truck pulled out of a garage, said wildlife biologist Brandon Saito, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Once the birds began landing to gorge themselves, their massive numbers pushed others down into the sludge, which was about the consistency of quicksand, Saito said. Factory workers, who had apparently moved the truck out only for a few minutes, pulled it back inside when they saw what was happening.

"It's not a very big space for that many eagles to get into," Saito said. "Some of the birds got crushed and buried. Some were drowning in the slime. It was really heavy, thick stuff."

Temperatures in Kodiak on Friday afternoon were in the midteens, causing some of the soaked eagles to "flash freeze" when they were pulled free, Saito said.
Many of the eagles survived but were in urgent need of medical care for injuries or oiling. Dave has updates on their condition.