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14 09 2010

Today I want to highlight a couple of comments we received on the blog after the posts from Canada last week. The first comes from the Public Relations Director of the Butchart Gardens where the SEANET blogger spent a gorgeous day evading responsibility. Though I know that SEANET blog readers are well aware of the life-altering power of dead birds, Mr. Bell wrote,
“Mr. Butchart (whose wife Jennie had the vision for The Gardens) told his great grandson that they’d been in England and planned to take the Titanic back to North America. Shortly before their departure he received word from home that one of his favorite ornamental birds had died. As the bird had originally been obtained from Germany he decided to postpone their return voyage and head to Germany to obtain another bird. His wife waited on in England until he returned. So basically a dead bird saved the Butcharts.”

Brightly colored plastics and rope woven into gannet nests (photo by H. Breder).

We also received a comment on my post about the Marine Debris session at the World Seabird Conference. Birder Hilke Breder, who writes the blog One Jackdaw Birding, posted a comment pointing out the issue of plastic and rope being incorporated into the nests of Northern Gannets. Breder observed this phenomenon during a visit to a gannet colony in the North Sea.

One thing that became very clear from the presentations at the Marine Debris session was the extreme global variability in marine debris deposition and resulting impacts on marine life. SEANET colleagues who have visited Northern Gannet colonies in North America have not reported or documented plastic or other trash in gannet nests at anywhere near the levels seen by Breder on her North Sea trip.

Northern Fulmars in the North Sea also seem to ingest more plastic than birds in other parts of the world, and work presented at the Seabird Conference suggests that the source of this plastic is local, rather than arriving on currents from distant oceans.

The SEANET blogger admits that this is the first she has heard of the issue of gannets being fatally entangled by foreign material in their own nests. We thank Hilke Breder for her comment and for bringing this issue to light to more of the seabird community.

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One response

14 09 2010
Libby

SUCH A GREAT STORY…!! I’m going to forward it on to Silas.
thanks, Sarah!

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