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Cirtically Endangered Fiji Petrel
Fiji Petrel

Many species of sea birdsare disappearing and endangered for a variety of reasons, including breeding site disturbance, disease, habitat loss and pollution. And most of these have man as the source. An additional grave threat to albatross and petrel species worldwide is longline fisheries.

The list of species that are threatened or endangered is long, and growing daily. Some of the more well known oceanic birds that now face extinction are various albatrosses, petrels, terns, eiders, sea eagles, penguins and pelicans.

 

"Albatrosses, the most spectacular breed of bird known, are fast dying out, it has been reported within the last few years that up to 1,000,000 albatrosses are killed per year mainly by being caught on fishermen’s long lines, though some countries, e.g. South Africa, are trying to prevent this. The worst sufferer is the black-browed albatross from the Falkland Islands whose feeding grounds coincide with long-line fishing grounds where a thousand albatrosses a day have been reported killed. Large numbers are killed by New Zealand Tuna-fishing boats as well as long liners. Japanese tuna longliners fishing under license in New Zealand waters were counted as killing an average of 904 per year between 1988-89 (Journal of Applied Ecology, 40:4,678).Birdlife International reports 2 species as being critically endangered, 3 endangered and 12 species as vulnerable. We can expect that as usual really stringent protection will be brought in when they are extinct. We seem hell bent on creating a pretty dull world for ourselves!
   A recent study showed that 96% of gut content of some albatrosses was the "by catch" of the trawler fleets. Trawlers want only the high priced fish, e.g. the "Orange Roughy" which has been fished to extinction, and now the "Toothfish". Other lower priced fish, dog-fish, ling etc are thrown over the side by the thousands of tons. Other trawlers concentrate on the albatross main diet, the squid. This total disruption of the food chain means that the survival of the albatross in any more than token numbers is in considerable doubt.
   OSSA which is based in Sydney reports a kill of 144,000 albatrosses and 400,000 petrels by long-liners in Australian waters since 1996. Albatrosses do not cross the calms of the tropics. In the north Pacific the main albatrosses are the Wanderer-like Laysan’s Albatross of which 400,000 used to occur on Midway Id and smaller numbers of Laysan Id, Tern Id and the small islands of the northern Hawaiian group. These range very widely as for north as the Aleutians and east to Sanfrancisco. Smaller numbers of the Black-footed Albatross (which seem black or dark brown all over) occur in the same locations. Like all sailors when come shore, the albatross likes a bit of smooch with something female. In the polluted northern Pacific, ingestion of floating plastic is killing many especially when fed to chicks.."  Dr. Bernie Gunn. Visit his great website at
Ross Sea Antarctica for more information on endangered birds of the Antarctica region.

Petrels are small (5-6") pelagic birds that only come ashore to breed. Tireless fliers by day, at night they rest on the water. Many petrels fly over the water skinning so closely that they give the appearance of walking on water. Effortless fliers, Petrels are capable of incredible transequatorial migrations, with some species flying from the Gulf of Alaska to nesting sites far into the Southern Hemisphere. Endangered petrel include the following species: Magenta Petrel, Fiji Petrel, Reunion Petrel, Chathams Islands Petrel, Barau's Petrel, Beck's Petrel, Jamaica Petrel, Zino's Petrel, Galapagos Petrel, Bermuda Petrel, Black-capped Petrel, Hawaiian Dark Rumped Petrel, Heinroth's Shearwater, Newell Townsend's Shearwater and Hutton's Shearwater.

Terns are slim and graceful birds, quite similar to gulls and below to the same family, Laridae. Terns have long, gray wings and webbed feet and are usually smaller than gulls and have sharp-pointed bills and forked tails. They are much quicker than gulls and can hover gracefully, always flying with their bills pointed down at right angles to the water. Because of their small webbed feet, terns cannot swim well and are seldom in the water longer than it takes to catchs ome food. Endangered species include the Roseate Tern, Least Tern and  California Least Tern

Eiders are sea ducks found across the artic and subartic zones of the northern hemisphere. There are only four species in the world, and all breed in Alaska. the common, king and spectacled eiders are among the largest ducks found in North America, while the smaller stellar's eider is one of the most unique member of the duck family. Both the spectacled and stellar's eiders are endangered.

Eiders have the physical characteristics of diving ducks, and typically the males have bold plumage pattersn of black and white, while the females are muted black, grey and brown. The ducks have commerical importance and their fluffy underlayer of feathers known as down, or eider down, is an excellent insulator and is collected from nests on "eider farms" in Iceland and Scandinavia and marketed in sleeping bags and comforters.

LINKS

The links below will take you to some great websites about endangered sea birds.
The best sites to start for general information are marked with a star .
If you have a site that you think should be listed, please email me.

Official, Scientific & Governmental Sites
Endangered Species Organizations
Sea Bird Observation
Endangered SeaBird Species
Miscellaneous

OFFICIAL, SCIENTIFIC & GOVERNMENTAL SITES


National Audubon Society

Audubon's mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity.  
 

ENDANGERED SPECIES ORGANZATIONS

ICUN World Conservation Union
The World Conservation Union is the world’s largest and most important conservation network. The Union brings together 82 States, 111 government agencies, more than 800 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique worldwide partnership. The Union’s mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

SEANET Blog  The Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET) is a citizen science program that brings together interdisciplinary researchers and citizen scientists in a long-term collaborative effort to identify and mitigate threats to marine birds.

United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre
The United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the biodiversity assessment and policy implementation arm of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the world's foremost intergovernmental environmental organization.

US Fish & Wildlife Webpages on Endangered Species
The American endangered species list maintained by the US Fish & Wildlife Service

Word Conservation Union ICUN Red List of Endangered Species

IUCN - The World Conservation Union, through its Species Survival Commission (SSC) has for four decades been assessing the conservation status of species, subspecies, varieties and even selected subpopulations on a global scale in order to highlight species threatened with extinction, and therefore promote their conservation.

SEA BIRD OBSERVATION

American Birding Association
The ABA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides leadership to birders by increasing their knowledge, skills, and enjoyment of birding. They are the only organization in North America that specifically caters to recreational birders. They also contribute to bird and bird habitat conservation through their varied programs.
 

ENDANGERED SEA BIRD SPECIES

ALBATROSSES
US Fish & Wildlife Service Species Profile for Short-Tailed Albatross

EAGLES
US Fish & Wildlife Service Species Profile for Bald Eagle

EIDERS
US Fish & Wildlife Service Species Profile for Spectacled Eider

PELICANS
US Fish & Wildlife Service Species Profile for Brown Pelican

SHEARWATERS & PETRELS
Earthlife Web Chapter on Shearwaters and Petrels

US Fish & Wildlife Service Species Profile for Hawaiian Dark-Rumped Petrel

US Fish & Wildlife Service Species Profile for Newell's Townsend's Shearwater

TERNS
US Fish & Wildlife Service Species Profile for California Least Tern

US Fish & Wildlife Service Species Profile for Least Tern

US Fish & Wildlife Service Species Profile for Roseate Tern


MISCELLANEOUS

North American Association For Environmental Education EE Link Endangered Species
EE-Link ~ Environmental Education on the Internet, is a resource designed to support students, teachers and professionals that support K-12 environmental education. This EE Link section deals with American endangered species.

MASS EXTINCTION OF SPECIES


 

American Museum of Natural History Statement  

The IUCN Red List of Endangered Species

Professor David  Ulansey's Website -Mass Extinction Underway