USFWS
Migratory Bird Management
Alaska Region

Seabirds

Conservation

THREATS

Alaskan seabirds nest far from cities and factories, which has protected them from many problems. However, the modern world still puts pressure on birds in Alaska. The Fish and Wildlife Service works to keep a balance between humans and seabirds. Some examples of problems in Alaska are:

  • Oil pollution can kill seabirds. Oil coats the birds' feathers, which can no longer keep cold water away from their skin. Most people know aboutOiled Murre. USFWS the Exxon Valdez, which spilled 11 million gallons of oil in Prince William Sound in 1989. Other small oil spills are quite common, and they sometimes kill birds too.
  • People can disturb birds by walking or making noise near their nesting colonies. Seabirds are frightened easily, and they can hurt their young chicks if they fly away in a hurry.
  • Introduced enemies like foxes or rats can get onto seabird islands. Birds have no defenses against new predators. Foxes and rats will kill and eat the birds or their young, which can be very dangerous for the population.
  • Fishing boats catch many of the same fish that birds eat. It is important to plan ahead so that both people and birds can find enough fish.
  • Fishing boats sometimes catch birds in their fishing gear. Birds caught on hooks or in nets usually drown. If fishing gear catches too many birds, their populations could start to decrease.
  • Plastic trash such as six-pack rings and fishing line can get tangled around birds and injure them.

 

Last Updated: September 18, 2008