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  • A recently dead common murre found by a citizen scientist on a routine monthly survey in January 2016. An intact, fresh bird indicates scavengers have not yet arrived. This carcass has probably only been on the beach a few hours.
    COASST
    A recently dead common murre found by a citizen scientist on a routine monthly survey in January 2016. An intact, fresh bird indicates scavengers have not yet arrived. This carcass has probably only been on the beach a few hours.
  • On Jan. 1 and 2, 2016, 6,540 common murre carcasses were found washed ashore near Whitter, Alaska, translating into about 8,000 bodies per mile of shoreline — one of the highest beaching rates recorded during the mass mortality event.
    David B. Irons
    On Jan. 1 and 2, 2016, 6,540 common murre carcasses were found washed ashore near Whitter, Alaska, translating into about 8,000 bodies per mile of shoreline — one of the highest beaching rates recorded during the mass mortality event.
  • Adult common murres return to island and sea stack colonies from California to Alaska, spending three months during each summer to breed. A single chick takes two parents to hunt for fish, such as the rockfish – a staple of the California murre diet – pictured here.
    Jane Dolliver
    Adult common murres return to island and sea stack colonies from California to Alaska, spending three months during each summer to breed. A single chick takes two parents to hunt for fish, such as the rockfish – a staple of the California murre diet – pictured here.
  • Common murres washing onto beaches in the Homer, Alaska, area were so abundant in early 2016 that COASST beach surveyors were forced to collect and photograph them in batches.
    COASST
    Common murres washing onto beaches in the Homer, Alaska, area were so abundant in early 2016 that COASST beach surveyors were forced to collect and photograph them in batches.
  • The number of dead or dying common murre seabirds observed on beaches spanning more than 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles) of coast that were surveyed systematically (gold circles), and with opportunistic beach surveys or the capture of sick and dying birds (red circles). A total of 62,035 murres were recorded from all areas. Only a fraction of birds killed at sea are found on beaches, and the researchers estimated that total mortality was between 500,000 and 1.2 million birds (mostly adults), or about 10-20% of the northeast Pacific population.
    John Piatt
    The number of dead or dying common murre seabirds observed on beaches spanning more than 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles) of coast that were surveyed systematically (gold circles), and with opportunistic beach surveys or the capture of sick and dying birds (red circles). A total of 62,035 murres were recorded from all areas. Only a fraction of birds killed at sea are found on beaches, and the researchers estimated that total mortality was between 500,000 and 1.2 million birds (mostly adults), or about 10-20% of the northeast Pacific population.
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