Shearwater birds are fighting for survival against our plastic waste. A research was recently conducted by Liz Bonnin and a BBC team that showed terrifying findings of the effects of our plastic waste on Shearwater chicks in Australia.
Disclaimer: The video below is very graphic and upsetting.
Shearwaters are medium-sized long-winged seabirds. These birds would feed on fish, squid, and similar oceanic food. However, due to the increase in plastic pollution, these birds are unable to distinguish the difference between small plastic pieces and fish. As a result, in the past 50 years, their populations have decreased by over 30%.
Many of these birds would nest in burrows on Lord Howe Island. An isolated island about 600 kilometers from the east coast of Australia. Young shearwaters would wait in their nest as their parents venture into the ocean to hunt for food for them.
Since shearwaters are unable to detect the difference between plastic and fish, they would often return to their nests and feed their younglings plastic pieces. This results in many of these young birds not having enough space for nutrition. Their stomachs would be filled with plastic and would die from hunger as nutrition is unable to enter their bodies.
Jennifer Lavers, one of the researchers in the BBC team also added that many of the plastic that the team found in these birds are completely preventable.
"We find plastic clothes pegs, plastic toothbrushes. Those could easily be swapped out for other materials - aluminum or wood. My own toothbrush is made of bamboo."
It is stories such as this that helps motivate us to become more and more eco-friendly. We hope this story has also helped inspire you to become more environmentally conscious.