Reports continue to come regarding dead marine organisms along the New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts coasts. At present, your SEANET blogger has tallied up about 15 dead seabirds (of questionable i.d.–originally called gulls, it appears some of them were Greater Shearwaters), several harbor seal pups, and the Minke Whale.
The seabird carcasses collected from Jenness Beach in NH have been taken to the University of New Hampshire for autopsy. Their stomach contents will also be analyzed for algal toxins.
So, what is a concerned citizen to do when confronted with a dead animal or fifteen? SEANET is dedicated to collecting seabird mortality data from formal surveys on set coastal routes, but what should a Seanetter do when she finds a dead bird outside those parameters? And what is any of us to do when we find a dead animal of any species in our backyard, by the side of the road, or floating in our swimming pool? I have posted here about the Wildlife Health Event Reporter run out of Madison, Wisconsin previously, and I mention it again now. WHER is designed to capture these incidental sightings, compile them, and map them for all to see. You can report a sighting of a sick or dead animal anywhere in the world. Whether it’s a major die-off, a slightly unusual event, or a single, roadkilled skunk, WHER will take your report.
I have been compiling all the reports from this current MA/NH event and submitting them to WHER, and I encourage everyone to help out! You need not be a Seanetter, a scientist, or a wildlife expert. If you find something dead, just report it! You never know what patterns we may help detect!