Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The more we learn about birds, the more we learn how inaccurate the term "birdbrain" is. Scientists who attached cameras to the backs of several black-browed albatrosses found that they tend to follow killer whales around, which takes some of the work out of finding food. Unfortunately, the birds also have noticed that longline fishing vessels are also places to find a meal, leading to high levels of bycatch. It's important that fishing operators work towards mitigating bycatch, which can be done quite successfully, and which can make a huge difference. Most of the population declines seen in seabirds like albatrosses and petrels are due to bycatch, which has killed hundreds of thousands of seabirds.