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Arctic Geese Now Skipping Migration
A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey has found that 30% of Pacific Brant are now wintering over in Alaska.
Usually Brant stream south along the Pacific flyway each fall. They’re a familiar site off the West Coast, long lines riding on tailwinds above the surfline at speeds over 60 mph. Their destination is a series of shallow lagoons in Baja California, where California gray whales breed, and where the birds feed on eelgrass.
But whereas once nearly the entire population of Pacific brant overwintered in Mexico and fewer than 3,000 were known to overwinter in Alaska, now 40,000 birds, or 30 percent of the population, are opting for Alaska instead. The change coincides with a general warming of temperatures in the North Pacific and Bering Sea and its well-documented effect on the abundance and distribution of numerous marine species, including walleye pollock, Pacific cod, northern fur seals, and thick-billed murres. See full article.
Photo: Arpingstone, Wikimedia Commons