Spill Hits Diving Duck Hardest

Migratory species accounts for one-quarter of dead birds in SF Bay catastrophe
By Rob Wagner,  Newser User
Posted Nov 24, 2007 5:33 AM CST
Paola Estanislao pulls up a crab net from a pier in Half Moon Bay, Calif.last week. Throughout San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin counties in Northern California, people who flock to the ocean for surfing,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A migratory duck already under environmental pressure has taken the brunt of the damage from the San Francisco Bay fuel spill, the AP reports. Of at least 1,365 dead birds, more than one-quarter are surf scoters, as are 40% of the birds being cleaned. "The oil spill just adds insult to injury and creates greater stress on these birds," says an Audubon Society official.

The spill killed or injured birds from 27 species, affecting surf scoters disproportionately because they spend most of their time in the hardest-hit areas. The species was already in trouble: The population has dropped by at least half over the past 40 years thanks to global warming and industrial pollution. "It's a major cause for concern," says a biologist.