More than 30,000 dead sea birds were washed up along the North Sea coast in 1994. The fish-eating birds (guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and shags) appeared to have starved to death. Scientists blamed overfishing, saying that present methods caught even the small fish fish (which were thrown back dead and so were useless to diving birds who seek live prey).
In January 1989, an Argentine supply ship spilled 250,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the ocean near Palmer Station Antartica. Within the next few week, there were mass die-offs of Skua chicks. (Skuas are birds living in the area that were being studied by scientists as part of an ongoing research study before the spill.) Two groups of scientists are at odds over what caused the deaths. One group believes that because of the oil spill, oil-soaked parents either died or were kept away from the nests for long periods (while they tried to clean themselves, etc.) and, as a result, the neglected chicks died from starvation. Other scientists believe that there was a shortage of silverfish in the area, which caused starvation.