Large numbers of dead Black-legged Kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla were washed ashore in North Norway in late April 2003. Inspection of 51 corpses indicated that they had died of starvation. More than 90% of those collected were males. Coincidental with the wreck were reports of many of the large colonies in the region being temporarily abandoned at a time when birds would normally be starting to breed. It seems that North Norwegian Black-legged Kittiwakes are dependent on the annual spring spawning migration of Capelin Mallotus villosus along the coast of Finnmark. In 2003, however, the stock was low and spawning took place exceptionally far west, forcing the birds to leave their colonies in their search for food. When small amounts of Capelin appeared along the Finnmark coast in mid-May the kitliwakes returned to their colonies and breeding proceeded as normal. This episode was unusual as the victims of starvation wrecks are usually auks, not kittiwakes.

Atlantic seabirds

CC BY 3.0 NL ("Naamsvermelding")

Nederlandse Zeevogelgroep

Robert T. Barrett, Terje D. Josefsen, & Anuschka Polder. (2004). Early spring wreck of Black-legged Kittiwakes rissa tridactyla in North Norway, April 2003. Atlantic seabirds, 6(2), 33–46.