In late March and early April 2002, at least 300 dead or dying Atlantic Puffins Fratercula arctica were reported beached on the coast of Central Norway between 62°30’ and 65°00’N. Post-mortem examinations of 30 individuals, 93% of which were adult birds, revealed that they had starved. No signs of injuries, parasites, diseases or external contamination were found, but levels of accumulated contaminants were not measured. The most likely origin of these birds were breeding sites at or in the vicinity of Røst (c. 450 000 pairs in 2001) 400-600 km further north. Based on a large difference between expected and observed adult survival rate for Atlantic Puffins at Røst between 2001 and 2002, it is possible that as many as 100,000 puffins died in this unusual but seemingly minor incident.

Atlantic seabirds

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Nederlandse Zeevogelgroep

Tycho Anker-Nilssen, Tomas Aarvak, & Georg Bangjord. (2003). Mass mortality of Atlantic Puffins Fratercula arctica off Central Norway, spring 2002: causes and consequences. Atlantic seabirds, 5(2), 57–72.