Late last year, thousands of seabirds were reported to have mysteriously died in the northern Bering and Chukchi seas, including near Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. Now scientists believe the culprit in their demise was warming seas.
Historically, seabird die-offs have occurred occasionally in Alaska; however, large die-off events have occurred each year since 2015. Consistently, dead birds examined from the Bering and Chukchi seas during these recent die-offs were determined to have died due to starvation. Seabird carcasses from the 2019 die-off events were collected from multiple locations and sent to the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center for examination and testing. Initial results indicate starvation as the cause of death for most locations.