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Notes on birds killed in the 1971 San Francisco oil spill
Smail, J., Ainley, D.G., & Strong, H. (1972) California Birds 3(2):25-32
On 18 January 1971 two tankers collided in the mouth of San Francisco Bay and 840,000 gallons of bunker C fuel oil were spilled. Tides and currents quickly moved most of the oil out of the Bay, and in the following several days it spread 17 km out into the Pacific Ocean and along the coast from Drake's Bay on the Point Reyes National Seashore southward almost to Point Aņo Nuevo. The oil thus covered a sizable portion of one of the most important wintering areas for aquatic birds on the west coast of North America. This paper summarizes bird mortality resulting from the oil and presents information gained from inspecting over 1100 bird carcasses.


94 Guillemots in breeding plumage had measurements consistent with resident adults of the race Uria aalge californica. 198 birds in winter plumage had mainly measurements and characteristics consistent with dispersing immature birds of the race U. a. inornata (although a few of the smaller birds may have been californica immatures).

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