- Associated Press - Saturday, March 12, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Federal researchers have not determined the cause of a massive die-off of Alaska seabirds but are starting to learn details.

A die-off of common murres (murz) began one year ago and spiked in early winter, following late-December storms. The birds appear to have starved to death.

Wildlife biologist Sarah Schoen (shohn) of the U.S. Geological Survey says 36,000 carcasses have been counted.

That represents a fraction of the likely deaths.

Schoen says necropsies of 61 birds that died in Prince William Sound found that most were female and most were young birds less than 2 years old.

She says that the birds weighed more than birds found in previous die-offs.

She says that may indicate something other than starvation is playing a role in the deaths.

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