Storms 'slaughter' kills over 21,000 birds on French coast

February 26, 2014
A wave crashes against the breakwater of Lomener in Ploemeur, western France on February 5, 2014 as Brittany and the Atlantic coasts were facing winds of 100 kilometres an hour

More than 21,000 sea birds have died since the end of January on France's Atlantic coast due to storms in the worst "slaughter" in a century, the national Bird Protection League (LPO) said Wednesday.

A total of 21,341 dead had been counted up to February 24 on the southwestern Basque coast and in Brittany in northwestern France, a statement said.

The worst affected species were the Atlantic Puffin, the Common Murre or Common Guillemot and the Razorbill, it said.

Nearly 2,800 were housed in bird protection shelters in these areas, the LPO said, adding that this was a provisional toll and the final numbers could be much higher.

It said the count had been carried out over three weekends and involved more than 500 volunteers.

The birds basically died of starvation, LPO's Nicolas Gendre told AFP, adding that the "storms had forced the birds to areas that are less rich in food".

He said the last such toll only occurred in 1900. Gendre said that the birds used up more energy to survive and seek food during storms.

Although most of the bird deaths were caused by the weather conditions, the LPO said there had also been some caused by pollution as a result of cargo ships taking advantage of the inclement conditions to dump at sea.

Explore further: Annual bird counts give scientists climate clues

Related Stories

Annual bird counts give scientists climate clues

December 22, 2012

(AP)—Conservationists and bird enthusiasts across the Western Hemisphere are taking part in a massive, annual bird count that they hope will help scientists understand how birds adapt to climate change and habitat loss.

First falcons born in Paris since 19th century

April 30, 2013

The first peregrine falcons to be born in Paris since the end of the 19th century have hatched at the top of a giant heating tower close to the Eiffel Tower, it was announced on Tuesday.

What's that bird? Check your smart phone

January 15, 2014

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has released a free iPhone app to help people identify 285 birds in North America. Created with support from the National Science Foundation, the app asks just five questions, then displays ...

Snowy owls invade US 'south' as cold has effect

February 18, 2014

Reports from tens of thousands of bird-counting volunteers show a southern invasion of Arctic-dwelling snowy owls has spread to 25 U.S. states, and frigid cold is causing unusual movements of waterfowl.

Recommended for you

A better way to read the genome

October 9, 2015

UConn researchers have sequenced the RNA of the most complicated gene known in nature, using a hand-held sequencer no bigger than a cell phone.

Threat posed by 'pollen thief' bees uncovered

October 9, 2015

A new University of Stirling study has uncovered the secrets of 'pollen thief' bees - which take pollen from flowers but fail to act as effective pollinators - and the threat they pose to certain plant species.

Mapping the protein universe

October 9, 2015

To understand how life works, figure out the proteins first. DNA is the architect of life, but proteins are the workhorses. After proteins are built using DNA blueprints, they are constantly at work breaking down and building ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.