Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Modeling bird mortality associated with the M/V Citrus oil spill off St. Paul Island, Alaska

January 1, 1999

We developed a model to estimate the number of bird carcasses that were likely deposited on the beaches of St. Paul Island, Alaska following the M/V Citrus oil spill in February 1996. Most of the islands beaches were searched on an irregular schedule, resulting in the recovery of 876 King Eider carcasses. A sub-sample of beaches were intensively studied to estimate daily persistence rate and detection probability [Fowler, A.C., Flint, P.L., 1997. Marine Pollution Bulletin]. Using these data, our model predicted that an additional 733±70 King Eider carcasses were not detected during our searches. Therefore, we estimate that at least 1609±70 King Eider carcasses occurred on beaches as a result of the spill. We lacked sufficient sample size to model losses for other species, thus we applied the estimated recovery rate for King Eiders (54%) to other species and estimate a total combined loss of 1765 birds. In addition, 165 birds were captured alive making the total estimated number of birds impacted by the M/V Citrus spill 1930. Given that oiled birds occurred in places on the island which could not be systematically searched combined with the fact that it was unlikely that oiled birds that died at sea would have been recovered during our searches [Flint, P.L., Fowler, A.C., 1998. Marine Pollution Bulletin], our estimate of total mortality associated with the spill should be considered a minimum.

Publication Year 1999
Title Modeling bird mortality associated with the M/V Citrus oil spill off St. Paul Island, Alaska
DOI 10.1016/S0304-3800(99)00006-X
Authors Paul L. Flint, Ada C. Fowler, Robert F. Rockwell
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecological Modelling
Index ID 70182199
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center