Wildlife Experts Probe Baby Tern Deaths

ROCKLAND, Maine (AP) — Wildlife  biologists say a change in diet caused by either climate change or overfishing  may be to blame for an unusually high number of baby seabird deaths along the  Gulf of Maine.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  researchers say in a typical year, about half the tern chicks born on Maine  islands die. This year about two-thirds of the chicks died, many  of starvation.

Terns usually give their chicks  a herring-rich diet. But observers noted this year that adults were giving the  baby birds more butterfish, which are wider and difficult for young birds to  swallow. The adults were also feeding their young more insects.

Brian Benedict, the deputy  refuge manager of the Maine  Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, tells the Bangor  Daily News (http://bit.ly/rzYkJO) he  suspects warmer waters or overfishing.


Information from: Bangor Daily  News, http://www.bangordailynews.com

Photo: Wikipedia

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