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 Moderated by: bartmanaz Page:    1  2  Next Page Last Page  
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Birds and the Red Tide  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Sat Mar 4th, 2017 01:12 am
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lasninas
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Mana: 
Hello, We saw about 20 dead black and white birds a few days ago during a walk on Pillar beach.  Wondering if this might be related to the red tide in some way?  Thank you.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 6th, 2017 05:47 am
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maryt
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Mana: 
I don´t think so. I am no expert but I know that we have a lot of Eared Grebes on the Sea of Cortez this year. We have seen hundreds when out on our pelagic trips. Looking online for how long they live, it appears that 6 years is quite old. So it is possible that we are seeing so many because there are so many out there and that the winds and currents are aligning to wash up the old ones that die.

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 Posted: Tue Mar 7th, 2017 01:59 am
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ballenamar
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I am associated with NGEN, a group of Mexican and American scientists that focus on the Sonoran desert region including the Sea of Cortez. One member of this team received the following message from the Prescott College Field Station at Kino Bay: 

"In recent weeks we have seen dead Eared Grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) (see photos attached for ID) both in the ocean and washing up on the beaches of Bahia de Kino, Sonora, México. For example, in one 500-meter stretch of Playa Estela, 39 specimens were counted. We have contacted CONANP (Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas) and had a visit from a  SENASICA (Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria) veterinarian to examine and take samples of two specimens  She will be testing for West Nile Virus, Salmonella, Bird Flu and Newcastle. We have contacted CONANP in hopes of testing in collaboration to other institutions for neurotoxins associated with red tides. There are many interesting aspects to this event, but we do not have any final conclusions. Please let us know if you have seen similar cases of dead Eared Grebes or other seabirds in the Midriff Island Region or other parts of the Gulf, or if you have any other relevant information."

I responded to this alert by reporting on the dead Eared Grebes that my partner and I saw a week ago. As you can see from the Kino Bay message, tests are being performed to find the cause of death of all of these birds.

Last edited on Tue Mar 7th, 2017 02:01 am by ballenamar

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 Posted: Tue Mar 7th, 2017 02:07 am
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frankiej
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Mana: 
last weekend a friend of mine staying at the sea of cortez hotel here in san carlos. told me of seeing what he described as many "dead ducks"! he is a hunter and the sight alarmed him!

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 Posted: Wed Mar 8th, 2017 03:16 am
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lasninas
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Thank you for the information!

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 Posted: Tue Mar 28th, 2017 09:02 pm
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lasninas
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Hi there, We just walked the Pillar beach, and again, there are many dead birds. Any update on the research into this issue Ballenamar?  Thanks so much.

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 Posted: Tue Mar 28th, 2017 09:21 pm
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kiteboarder
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I've been spending a lot of time on the beaches of San Carlos (mainly Algodones) for over 20 years and almost always see a few dead grebes this time of the year. Once in a while there are a lot, especially when there were big flocks in the water. Years ago it was common to have large flocks and it used to concern me when I windsurfed at La Manga that I might strike some as I never knew where or when they would surface. There is also a lot of panga traffic in that bay that could have been deadly. The worst, though, was when sardine boats would dump their by-catch. Lots of dead fish and birds.

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 Posted: Tue Mar 28th, 2017 10:13 pm
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lasninas
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Thanks for the info. Kiteboarder!

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 Posted: Wed Mar 29th, 2017 04:52 am
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cjdaley
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We have just been walking on Pillar beach this morning at San Carlos.  In a very short space we counted over two dozen dead birds. They were blue footed and did not have duck feet.  We believe they were all Cassin's Auklets.  They were all washed up in the tide line and several Vultures were working their way through the carcasses.  
Could someone please pass this info on to the appropriate organization?  Thanks.


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 Posted: Wed Mar 29th, 2017 03:34 pm
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Bullshipper
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Mana: 
There has been a lot of bait around San Carlos and the Island. When diving on bait we see them collide and always find a few floating dead, that probably accumulate in bay corners when washed ashore. There are also sardine boats working that probably kill a few working their large nets.

We saw about 2000 small dead bass floating 2 miles out from La Manga on Sunday which had to be culled from a net, and of course there were 10 birds sitting on the water for every dead fish, So I think seeing 10-50 dead birds is more of a natural event that occurs when 1000's of them are in our area feeding, colliding and mating over an extended period of time, and this year there has been a lot of bait here since October.

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 Posted: Fri Mar 31st, 2017 03:47 pm
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SharkBite
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Mana: 
I see at least 6 every day by Delfine Condos.  Look more like Eared Grebes.  Looking forward to a vet report.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 19th, 2017 07:28 pm
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mziebell
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Martin Ziebell here:  I manage the Prescott College Field Station in Bahia de Kino.  As a previous poster noted we have been tracking this year's die-off of Eared Grebes carefully.  Here's what we know:  
This is probably the largest die-off since the last one occurred in the late 90's in our area.  Samples taken for analysis show no signs of common avian diseases.  What has been noted is that the dead birds are consistently far below normal body weight.  We're also finding that the dead birds have empty stomachs.  They should be eating a great deal in preparation for migrating north.  Instead, it looks like they are not finding food and are probably starving as a result.  
The die-off has now spread to the otherside of the Gulf this week with many dead birds begin reported between Punto Chivato and Agua Verde.
http://www.prescott.edu/kino-bay-center/

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 Posted: Wed Apr 19th, 2017 08:27 pm
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SharkBite
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Mana: 
Thank You so much for your studies!  Is there something that can be done?  I'm wondering why they don't have sufficient food, what do they eat, and what can be done about it?  Is this the same reason that  this happened  back in the 90's?

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 Posted: Thu Apr 20th, 2017 12:48 am
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maryt
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Thanks so much Martin. As leader of the local bird group,I have been asked this question a lot this season and don´t have the expertise to answer it. It does seem like there are a lot more Eared Grebes here this year. Is that accurate or just a misconception? Would that impact the amount of food available. Do Eared Grebes eat something unique because we have not seen a lot of other types of birds washed up?

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 Posted: Thu Apr 20th, 2017 04:12 am
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Bullshipper
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Theat's observation is a lot different than what I am seeing 4x per week over the last 5 months.

They have been gorging. There is an excess of small bait fish and palegic crabs and every dive results in a bird coming up with a fish in its mouth.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 20th, 2017 05:21 am
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Richard Baca
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BS, they are talking about the dead ones on the beach not the ones we see feeding. Something anomalous is happening to a small population of these birds requiring forensic study.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 20th, 2017 06:09 am
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repsilon
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A few dead Grebes. We see it every year. Nothing to be alarmed about. Nets, sardine boats, other boats, a little lack of bait fish in that area, sea gulls killing them - a typical cycle.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 20th, 2017 02:44 pm
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maryt
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I will leave it to the scientists. There are definitely more dead Eared Grebes on the beaches than in the past few years. However, since there are so many here this year, I wondered if it was normal attrition due to age. 5 years is old for Eared Grebe and if they were old and dying, it seems like they might not be eating and would be underweight. I suppose if the people who studied them were able to look at how old they were,they might be able to discuss whether this theory has any validity.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 20th, 2017 03:35 pm
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repsilon
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There were ten's of thousands of them out there. The bait fry overall was absent in areas at times. Many times the Grebes were the ones pushing, or bringing, the bait up in their beaks. The starving sea gulls then attack them. Besides seeing sardinerose being close, there are a lot more hidden nets these days.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 20th, 2017 08:04 pm
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Bullshipper
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Richard Baca wrote: BS, they are talking about the dead ones on the beach not the ones we see feeding. Something anomalous is happening to a small population of these birds requiring forensic study.
I see several dead per day along the coast and out at the island. I agree the sardine nets, diving pelicans and thieving seagulls, comorants, boobies and tijeras are doing a number on the  these small birds, stealing what they bring up to eat on the surface. I am also seeing a lot of beheaded bodies.
Anyway, these floating bodies concentrate in the sc bay which is a huge catchers mitt for anything getting pushed SE by the prevailing NW winds all the way from LA Bay, San Pedro Martir. SPedro, etc.
And of course natural causes will always contribute to their death  toll too as there are so many here this year.

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