14 -17 MARCH 1998. MEXICO: SEABIRD (MORTALITY)

Bahia Kino, Sonora: "While bird-watching along coast I found fresh carcasses (death within 48 hours based on lack of predation and lack of maggots) as follows (in a 2 km stretch): 3 eared or horned grebes (id ?), 1 western grebe, 6 Brown pelicans, 3 loons (common or Pacific?), 1 Blue-footed booby, 1 dolphin/small pilot whale (i.d.?), 1 small sea lion (species ?), Some of mortality may be due to by-catch in fishing nets as local fishers said they do catch birds, but they said that they are seeing more dead birds floating around, and that they are catching less fish this year."--Dusty Becker cbecker@indiana.edu AND "This sounds similar to the numbers of dead seabirds Kathy Molina and I have been finding at El Golfo de Santa Clara at the northern end of the Sonora, Mexico, coast (though we haven't walked as much of the beach). Most carcasses there in February 1998 were Pacific Loons, Common Loons, and Western Grebes, but we've also found (over the past 2-3 years) Clark's and Eared grebes, Blue-footed and Brown boobies, Brown Pelicans, Surf Scoters, Red-breasted Mergansers and even an American Coot. I agree that fishing nets seem to be a likely explanation, and we have the impression that the numbers of beached birds this past winter haven't been significantly higher than previous years (i.e. no obvious "El Nino" peak in mortality). Dan Anderson (dwanderson@ucdavis.edu) would be very interested in any band numbers you might have obtained from dead Brown Pelicans."-- Kimball L. Garrett <kgarrett@nhm.org

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