By RENEE GROSS • 6 HOURS AGO
Common murres have had a few bad years. The unusual warm weather temperatures, known as the blob, dramatically shifted the availability of their food supply in the Gulf of Alaska, starving thousands of birds to death. And most murres stopped breeding. But there is some good news. A small amount of baby murres are hatching again in colonies from the Gulf of Alaska to the Bering Sea.
It’s not unusual for common murres to have die-offs. But Heather Renner, a supervisory biologist at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, said the die-off a few years ago was unprecedented.
“There's about two or three million common murres in Alaska and we don't know exactly how many died during the big die-off of 2015 to 2016, but probably about 500,000,” she said.
Renner said it’s clear the warm weather temperatures from 2014 through the beginning of 2017 were responsible for starving thousands of common murres. The sudden change in temperature led to fewer fish for the murres to eat and there are a couple theories as to why:Continued