Thousands of dead octopuses wash up on Portugal beach
Thousands of dead octopuses have washed up on a beach in northern Portugal, in what is being called an environmental disaster.
They cover a 5-mile stretch of Vila Nova de Gaia beach - no reason has yet been found for their appearance.
The authorities have warned the public not to eat them.
http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2011 ... ille-coast
Pelicans turn up sick, dead off Jacksonville coast
Founder of sanctuary treating the birds blames chemicals in the water.
Hundreds of Eastern brown pelicans, some with missing wings and frostbite, have been injured or killed in the St. Johns River the past couple of weeks in the Mayport area.
The exact reason is unknown but the cold weather could have caused hypothermia when the birds landed in the water. The pelicans have been losing a protective coating they have on their body to shield their feathers from becoming saturated by water.
Cindy Mosling, co-founder of the Bird Emergency Aid and Kare Sanctuary on Big Talbot Island, thinks chemicals in the water could be the culprit.
Mosling and her team, which consists of her husband and their only employee, Jose Gutierrez, have been capturing the sick birds for a more than a week when they fly to an open feeding area at their facility. They spot the weak ones and bring them in to be cleaned, warmed and fed.
The sanctuary, known as BEAKS, has about 20 sick pelicans huddled inside a tentlike heated room that are being cared for as more injured pelicans show up.
Without their protective coating, Mosling said the pelicans have no shield from the cold water.
“How would you feel if someone put a wet blanket over you and made you sit outside in the cold?” she said.
Mosling has seen at least 20 dead pelicans so far. Karen Parker of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said 15 pelicans were found dead Sunday but couldn’t explain the reason.
Bobby Taylor, president of the Florida Open Beaches Foundation, said he hasn’t seen anything that would point to chemical contaminants in the water. But the cold could be taking its toll.
“This is the coldest water I’ve seen in awhile,” Taylor said.
Mosling said this has been happening to the birds for 30 years and cites aqueous film-forming foam as the root of the pelicans losing their protective coating.
About seven years ago, a similar incident occurred when 60 dead pelicans were found in the river near Mayport. There were suspicions that the fire-fighting foam chemical could have contaminated the river when 60,000 gallons was used to put out a gasoline fire in 1993, according to Times-Union archives. The chemical has since been pulled off the market, but the substance can remain in the environment for years, Mosling said.
“The river is like an open sewer,” she said.
In the warming pen at BEAKS, the pelicans hold their feathers in the air because they are soggy and clumped without the protection from their water-repellent coating. They are fed fish multiple times a day, which Mosling’s husband has to buy with the money they get through donations and their own personal income.
BEAKS has been caring for injured birds since it was founded about 30 years ago. It has cared for injured pelicans since it formed and has seen pelicans that have been hurt and killed in the same way. Mosling said nothing is being done to fix the problem.
http://www.yankton.net/articles/2011/01 ... 445859.txt
Yankton Sees Bird Kill-Off
It is estimated that more than 200 dead starlings were found in downtown Yankton Monday. However, it is not believed the deaths pose a threat to humans.
Yankton Animal Control Officer Lisa Brasel estimated that she collected 200 starlings Monday, and employees of the city Parks and Recreation Department were also on the scene picking up deceased birds. The total number of corpses gathered up by city employees has not yet been compiled.
“I talked to one of the local vets, and they said there is nothing wrong (with the birds),” said Brasel, who took specimens to a veterinary office. “They just didn’t migrate and are dying. I was going to call the South Dakota Department of Health to see what they have to say about it, but they are closed today (because of Martin Luther King Day).”
The birds were found around trees on the north side of Riverside Park, as well as on the north side of Second Street between Capitol and Pine streets.
The mass bird death in Yankton comes on the heels of other large animal kill-offs around the world that have people buzzing. Many began taking notice when, on New Year’s Eve, an estimated 5,000 blackbirds dropped dead in Beebe, Ark. Since then, reports of more bird deaths, as well as those of crabs, cows and fish, have come in from around the world. Some of the incidents have been attributed to pedestrian causes — birds colliding with objects and each other after a fireworks display, or cows with a virus — while others await explanation.
Some of the more creative accounts have the deaths related to secretive government experiments or, for those familiar with the movie “2012” and many books with similar apocalyptic predictions, the supposed end of the world.
However, scientists have been downplaying the events.
“Five billion birds die in the U.S. every year,” Melanie Driscoll, a biologist and director of bird conservation for the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Flyway for the National Audubon Society, told the New York Times recently.
That means 13.7 million birds die in the United States every day, the Times points out.
Nevertheless, the explanations of scientists don’t always ease the shock of seeing so many dead animals in one place.
Alison Brown, who works in the area where the birds were found in downtown Yankton, said at first the bird corpses just looked like clods of dirt under the trees. However, she later noticed the macabre nature of what she was seeing.
“I’m concerned as to what would be the cause of this,” Brown said.
She quickly recalled the reports of bird deaths she had seen on the news.
“The first thing I did when we saw the birds is, I looked it up online to see if they had figured out what caused the incidents in other areas,” Brown stated.
Brasel said that, in more than 10 years in the animal control field, she had never witnessed anything like it.
Late Monday afternoon, after city crews had picked up many of the birds, some corpses still remained.
“I would go to pick up one bird, and I’d find a pile four birds deep,” Brasel said.
Some dead birds remained clinging to the trees. She called the scene “creepy.”
“I did find a couple that were alive, and I took them to the vet clinic,” Brasel said. “They died within 20 minutes. They seem to be healthy. They are not skinny like they’re starving to death.”
She had also received a report of dead robins by a house in the city, but otherwise the bird deaths seemed confined to the downtown area where a thick flock of birds has been congregated for some time, flying between the trees and making a good deal of noise.
“I think it’s just a fluke thing,” Brasel said.