Program on SEANET and Common Eider Die-offs

Drs. Julie Ellis and Sarah Courchesne from SEANET will be at Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday, December 5, at 2:00pm to talk about the SEANET program, meet current and prospective Cape volunteers, and present their latest findings on eider die-offs.  This program is FREE and open to the public.  At 1:00pm that same afternoon there will be a special showing of the film The Dark Side of the Loon, which highlights issues facing loons on their coastal wintering grounds. As part of Wellfleet Bay’s Winter Lecture Series, the film is free with sanctuary admission. Call 508-349-2615 for more information.

This fall, as in years past, the bodies of dead Common Eider, large black and white sea ducks, can be found littering the tide line of local beaches. This phenomenon has been recorded since the 1950s, but scientists are only recently starting to study and understand the factors behind these deaths. While Common Eider populations are still considered high, there is some evidence that their numbers are dropping. It is unknown if these annual die-offs reflect a larger problem.  Much of this research work has been done through the Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET), based at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. SEANET is an ongoing project assessing seabird mortality along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Its goals are to pinpoint threats to marine bird populations, work collaboratively to alleviate those threats, engage the public in ocean research and conservation, and understand what seabirds can tell us about the state of our oceans. SEANET depends on a network of volunteers along the Atlantic coast; over 100 citizen scientists volunteer to walk an assigned stretch of beach once or twice a month, record environmental data and report both dead and live birds seen on the beach. New volunteers are always welcomed.  More information on SEANET

Cynthia Franklin

Volunteer Coordinator

Mass Audubon/Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

PO Box 236

South Wellfleet, MA 02663

508-349-2615 x 101; fax 508-349-2632



news blog:

Protecting the Nature of Massachusetts

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