Common Eider die-offs in the news

6 05 2014
A cheery looking Chris Dwyer with a less cheery looking eider (Boston Globe photo)

A cheery looking Chris Dwyer with a less cheery looking eider (Boston Globe photo)

While visiting my parents the other day, my father brought the paper in from outside and tossed it on the table. Imagine my surprise when I caught sight of a picture of our partner, Chris Dwyer, of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, in a front page article in the Boston Globe. The story highlights the work of a cadre of biologists, Massachusetts state and local officials, and a veterinary surgical team. The group went to work on the Boston Harbor Islands, the southern limit of the Common Eider’s breeding range. Team members came from a number of institutions and agencies, including US Fish and Wildlife Service, USGS, University of Pennsylvania, USDA, Biodiversity Research Institute, National Park Service, and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and Division of Fisheries and Wildlife seeking to continue their research on Wellfleet Bay Virus, a newly discovered pathogen suspected of driving the annual die-offs of eiders on the Cape. The crew was able to capture, band and sample 38 birds. Ten males and nine females also had satellite tags surgically implanted before their release. Two of the captured birds had been previously sampled in earlier years, so the researchers are eager to see how their viral test results compare over time.

It was a very successful trip, and we’re excited to see what the results show as they come in. Congrats to this hard working team, and an additional congratulations to Chris himself, who recently won the prestigious William T. Hesselton award for distinguished service by a Northeast wildlife professional. Kudos on the win, Chris; very well deserved!





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