Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bird Impacts of the New Zealand Spill

An oiled White-capped Albatross (Forest & Bird)
BirdLife has a bit more on how birds are being affected by the oil spill in New Zealand that I mentioned in yesterday's Loose Feathers. It seems that breeding seabirds are most affected:
Many seabirds are currently breeding on offshore islands in the Bay of Plenty and nearby regions and any impact on the parent birds will also affect their chicks. These seabirds breed in burrows so any birds with oil on their feathers could carry that oil into their nests and harm their chicks as well. If the parent birds have swallowed oil, both they and any chicks they feed are likely to die or be harmed, and the chicks of parents that die will starve.

Karen Baird said it was important that experts should get out to the breeding colonies to check on the harm occurring there. Among the dead birds recorded so far are 178 Common Diving-petrels Pelecanoides urinatrix, 114 Fluttering Shearwaters Puffinus gavia, 68 Buller’s Shearwaters Puffinus bulleri and 13 Little Penguins Eudyptula minor, along with smaller numbers of albatrosses and other species of petrel....

Eleven oiled Little Penguins were taken to the Oiled Wildlife Response Unit in Mount Maunganui overnight and five New Zealand Dotterels Charadrius obscurus had been removed from areas threatened by oil pollution at Matakana Island, Maketu and Pukehina.