Thousands of carcasses of tufted puffins in the bering sea could be because of Climate change, as suggested by a study. The death of these seabirds was spread out over a four-month period. The remnants washed up on the beaches in the southern Bering Sea. In the opinion of researchers, the death of the birds was due to starvation.

This could be the result of non-availability of proper food probably as a result of rising in sea temperatures and other similar factors.

The effects of climate change are yet to be fully understood. Therefore, global warming is blamed for any strange observation noticed, like the case of these birds.

The Guardian reports tufted puffins in the Bering Sea to consume fish and other similar items. These, in turn, feed on plankton. Hence, fluctuation in surrounding temperatures disturbs the natural setup and normal flow of food leading to its scarcity. Climate change is, undoubtedly, a crisis that is affecting the Atlantic puffin in Britain and Iceland.

Reasons for the mass die-off

Moulting is a process when birds shed their feathers, hair, or skin to make way for new growth. This is a period in the life of a bird when it needs plenty of food.

However, that was not there and the birds literally starved to death. In the research, people recovered hundreds of carcasses of adult tufted puffins that appeared to be in the process of moulting. The inference was obvious. The study revealed that until now puffin carcasses were very few but in the course of this die-off, it had risen to an alarming high. This was a matter of concern.

The Guardian points out that the rise in sea temperatures have reduced food resources for the tufted puffins in the southern Bering Sea.

This could be because some of the sources had moved out in different directions depending on the wind patterns and ocean currents. Obviously, these birds feel the effect of such erratic behavior of the climate. They spend most of their lives at sea and return to land to breed. However, shortage of food supplies close to their breeding grounds is forcing Atlantic puffins out of their normal habitats. Thousands of birds died after the storms of 2013-14 along the Atlantic coasts and more than 50 percent were Atlantic puffins.

Climate change to blame

According to CNN, the massive mortality of tufted puffins in the Bering Sea in late 2016 through early 2017 is believed to be the fallout of climate change. Researchers discovered hundreds of carcasses on St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea, Alaska. This was between October 2016 and January 2017 and they estimate deaths might have been in thousands. There was no oil spill in the region, neither any other dramatic catastrophic event.

In the opinion of scientists, the only plausible reason could be hunger – they must have been starving. The carcasses of adult birds appeared to be severely emaciated. The puffins eat fish and climate change had disrupted the food chain because the fish eat zooplankton that had disappeared since the water was warmer. There are already reports of puffin populations declining in many countries.

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