Alaska is increasingly observed phenomenon of deformation of the beak of many species of birds, which points directly to the major variations in ecology.
In the entire history has not had such a large number of birds to the deformation of the beak. It affects birds and Alaska, and other north-western regions of North America, and British Columbia, and Washington State.
It was found that black-capped chickadees, crows from the north-west and the other birds are suffering from disorders of keratin. The disease manifests itself as a result of the proliferation of cells in the keratin layer of the beak, which is why he is more elongated.
Often deviations are detected not only in the bill, but also the skin, paws, claws, and even feathers. This problem is very serious, because the effect on the ability of birds to feed, clean themselves and their offspring.
Biologist, U.S. Geological Survey representative Colin Gandel said, "Despite the studies, we still could not determine the cause of the disease in birds, and so we are seriously concerned about the situation. We estimate that the degree of illness from this disease is ten times higher than normal, existing in the population of wild birds. This has a great impact not only on the survival of birds, but also on their ability to grow and develop. "
Beak deformity first black-capped chickadees observed in the early 90's of the last century, and since then the number of sick birds is increasing every year. Total registered about 2,100 black-capped tits with this disease, which is 6.5% of the total and about 17% of crows in the north-west.
Reason for the violation of keratin in birds remains a mystery to biologists, the researchers believe that it is in the environmental pollution, malnutrition, as well as bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections.
However, the most objective hypothesis today is pollution. In the past, when in California, such deviations were observed, it was the result of the emission of organochlorine compounds and wastewater chemical element — selenium. Then the scientists in these regions by examining the problem, immediately made the necessary corrections.
"The wide range of habitats, we see a considerable number of species of birds afflicted. Existing problem is causing concern for the environment in the region" — said another biologist Caroline Van Hemert.
Scientists believe that it is in the north-west region has the contaminant is not detectable.
Biologists who study this problem, recently published their findings in the latest issue of The Auk — is a special log on ornithology, published four times a year.
The USGS continues to conduct research to identify the causes of avian disease, without coming to a definite conclusion. On its Web site, it encourages residents of northwest region to contact her in the case if they see a bird with a deformed beak.