Aves, p�le ornithologique de Natagora

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Aves, 25/3-4 | 1988 | 153-170

  Sae-birds washed upon the belgian coast. Samples collected between April 1986 and March 1987 for analysis as to various causes of death.
Sheridan, R. && Pamart, L.

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This work is based on a total of nine samples taken over the period from April 1986 to March 1987 along the belgian coast. In all, 686 specimens were collected, of which 659 could be identified by species. These were essentially aquatic birds (631 individuals belonging to 45 different species), to which must be added several "terrestrail" birds (9 specimens for 5 species) and many domestic birds (19 specimens for 3 species). The numbers of available samples taken varied during the course of the year, with a low period corresponding to summer and autumn (from 10 to 21 specimens for 4 to 9 species by sampling), an average period corresponding to spring (March, April, May) (from 45 To 50 specimens for 15 to 17 species) and a very high period corresponding to the cold months (from 150 to 288 specimens for 3à to 32 species). The quantitative distribution of birds along the coast is more or less homogeneous, with nevertheless a greater abundance between De Panne and Nieuwpoort. The analysis of the various causes of death revealed the following findings : contamination with crude or fuel oil was accidental (1 %) for the waders, not very important for the coastal gulls (11 %) and the wildfowl (12 %). On the contrary, it was much more critical for the grebes, divers and cormorants (30 %) and may be considered as the principal cause of death for pelagic birds (50 %). Radioscopic examination of corpses in good state of conservation revealed that a non-negligible percentage of birds had been shot (14 out of 155). Cold, however is the principal cause of death for all groups, but oystercatchers and coots are most sensitive.

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