Bright bits of plastic catch the seabirds’ attention. Mistaking candy wrappers, Styrofoam and twine for food, they gobble so much plastic that 92.5 per cent of the birds studied had plastic pieces in their stomach. The average for the 67 birds was 36.8 pieces, with a total average weight of 0.385 grams per bird. One bird had 454 pieces of plastic in its stomach.
Northern fulmars are common sea birds in northern ocean. They are often mistaken for gulls, though they are more closely related to albatrosses and shearwaters. The birds are known to follow fishing boats, feeding on offal.
Next: “Like the canary in the coal mine”
Photo 1: Non-food stomach content found in a northern fulmar in the UBC study. (Photo: StephanieAvery-Gomm, UBC); Photo 2: Northern fulmar photo via JAC6.FLICKR via Flickr Creative Commons
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