A recent study, in 2012, of the seabird, Northern Fulmars, indicated an increase of plastic ingestion by these birds over the past forty years. The study was lead by Stephanie Avery-Gomm, a zoology graduate student at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
In the study, researchers collected dead northern fulmars from several eastern North Pacific beaches of Canada and USA. They then studied the stomach contents of these birds.
The stomach contents of 67 fulmars were quantified. The research revealed that 92.5% of the birds had ingested an average of 36.8 pieces, or .385 grams, of plastic. Now, you must understand, fulmars feed only at sea. They do not feed on land or on the shoreline. All the plastic that was ingested was floating in the sea. The research reveals the staggering amount of plastic floating in the ocean and how deceiving it is to seabirds.
What happens to a bird with that much plastic in their stomach? They die. Usually from starvation. The following video explains the process very well.
Cover photo: Fulmar by T. Muller. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)