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Hi,
   This is just a thought. Northern Gannets usually feed in much
deeper water and often dive quite deep in pursuit of prey. Could it
be that they're breaking their necks diving in water far more shallow
than they're used to ? A bird that routinely dives in water 35 to 50
feet deep and goes down 10 to 15 feet in pursuit of its prey could
make a mistake while trying to take advantage of "easy" pickings in
shallow water and make a fatal mistake. And since feeding behavior
triggers that response in others of the species, more than 1 or 2
birds could all make the same mistake. In the reports that I've seen
posted, several mentioned Brown Pelicans feeding in the same areas,
yet no Brown Pelican deaths have been reported. These birds routinely
feed in the shallow water just off the beach and know to pull up
before striking the bottom. Their northern cousins may just be
victims of their own inexperience.
--
David Hartgrove
conservation chair,
Halifax River Audubon
Daytona Beach, Fl.

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