how many birds die from pollution each year

You might think that life in the skies would make birds safe from the dangers of plastic. Think again.

The sheer scale of global plastic production means that no species is beyond its reaches, and if we allow things to continue as they are the situation is only going to get worse.

In Australia alone we manufacture almost 3 million tonnes of plastic every year, but only recycle 12%. So how exactly does all this waste this affect birds?

Case Study: Midway Atoll

A ring-shaped reef, island, or chain of islands made up of coral is called an atoll. One of the world’s oldest atolls, Midway Atoll is situated at the far north end of the Hawaiian archipelago. Aside from being the site of the renowned battle at Midway and its use as a naval base during World War II, Midway Atoll is home to the largest albatross colony in the world. The three small islands of Midway Atoll are home to almost 3 million nesting birds annually. Even though Midway Atoll is over 2,000 miles away from the closest continent, it suffers from a serious plastic pollution issue. The U. S. According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, over 100 pounds of plastic are washed up each week. Every year, about one-third of albatross chicks perish as a result of consuming plastic. Brightly colored plastic fragments are mistaken for prey by adults, who then feed them to their chicks. Many of the chicks perish because they are unable to regurgitate the plastic fragments. Plastic has a terrible impact on albatrosses and other seabirds’ survival, even in such a remote place. It is critical to acknowledge that the effects of our actions are global and to take action to lessen those effects.

How many birds die from plastic?

Because the presence of plastic in the ocean has attracted a lot of media attention, studies on seabirds provide a large portion of the data regarding birds and plastic.

The number of seabirds dying as a result of plastic is currently estimated at 1 million a year. This shocking statistic becomes even more worrying when we consider just how quickly this problem has grown. Fewer than 5% of seabirds studied in 1960 were found to have plastic in their stomachs, but this number had rocketed to 80% in 1980.

Based on this research, and contemporary studies, its expected that by 2050 99% of all seabird species will be ingesting plastic. Along with entanglement, this is one of the leading causes of plastic-related deaths among birds. 90% of seabirds around the world eat plastic annually

Why do birds eat plastic?

It’s painful to watch the skeletons of chicks with plastic-filled stomachs, but for many seabird populations around the world, this is the reality of life and death.

There are a few reasons why seabirds are ingesting plastic:

  • Tiny pieces of plastic floating in the ocean can be mistaken for prey because they resemble food.
  • Research indicates that the aroma of krill feasting on the algae covering marine plastic waste is comparable to the natural scents that numerous seabirds pursue while on the lookout for sustenance.
  • It floats—One major contributing factor to the issue is the lightweight nature of plastic. Particularly, species of albatross feed by skimming low over the water, unintentionally ingesting plastic in the process.

While this is a global phenomenon, species close to home are suffering some of the worst of the effects. The flesh-footed shearwater, which breeds on Lord Howe Island, and is a common visitor to waters off mainland Australia, ingests more plastic as a proportion of its body mass than any other marine creature.

Winds and currents that can carry plastic thousands of kilometers from its original point of entry into the ocean allow it to reach these far-off places. This implies that lethal waste has suddenly overrun previously secure island breeding colonies.


How many birds die from light pollution a year?

But it makes most migratory birds highly susceptible to light pollution. In North America alone, it is estimated that up to 1 billion migrating birds die each year from collisions with buildings.

Do birds die from air pollution?

Ground-level ozone (O3) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), two of the most common air pollutants in California, are powerful oxidants that can cause direct, irreversible damage to birds’ lungs. Long-term exposure can lead to inflammation, ruptured blood vessels, and lung failure.

What is the leading cause of death of birds?

Domesticated and feral cats kill between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds every year in the US. Other major causes of bird deaths are disease snd collisions with manmade structures such as windows, powerlines and windmills.

How many birds die a year from oil spills?

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Each year over 500,000 birds die worldwide due to oil spills.