Canada’s Birds Feel the Impact of BP Oil Spill – Profile #5

This is the fifth species profile in this series highlighting migratory birds that may be at risk during their fall migration through the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.Northern Gannet

With its striking plumage – pure white with black wingtips and bold lines around blue eyes – it is hard to miss the Northern Gannet. This remarkable species spends most of its life at sea and nests in a few large colonies in the North Atlantic. It feeds by plunge-diving up to depths of 22 metres in pursuit of fish.

Most adults had already made their migration north, away from the Gulf, in April before the oil spill began. However, juvenile gannets remain in those dangerous waters and were among the first avian victims of the spill. The fall migration back to the Gulf occurs in October. There is no way of knowing whether the effects of the spill will be cleaned up by then, but the damage to the species’ future has already been done.