FIELD TRIP: In the Seabird Seat

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Science  08 Dec 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5498, pp. 1851b
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5498.1851b

Its neon bill may bring to mind a tropical toucan, but this horned puffin (with chick) actually breeds in chilly Alaska. A good source of info about this and other seafaring birds is this site from U.S. Geological Survey biologists in Alaska. Aimed at both students and scientists, the site explains Alaskan ecosystems through descriptions of research on how the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and long-term swings in forage fish populations have affected seabirds. But birds are the site's stars: Photos and captions written by scientists profile species in Alaska and elsewhere, such as pigeon guillemots, which catch fish by flying underwater, and black-footed albatrosses, which migrate to Alaska from nesting grounds in Hawaii on wings that span nearly 2 meters.

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