Plastic From the Stomach of One Albatross

5 Jun 2008, 7:34pm

Oh! I really like your photograph of all that plastic debris. Great colors and textures. I like the way you meticulously laid out the pieces in a…

What? I’m sorry but what did you say? It came from where? The stomach of one albatross!?! Eww.

All of the plastic in the picture above was pulled out of the proventriculi – part of the birds complicated stomach system – of one bird, a Layson Albatross, on Kure, an island near Midway. The weight of the proventriculi on this bird was 340 grams and 80% of that was the plastic above. The plastic weighed as much as six golf balls.

From the book, Archipelago: Portraits of Life in the World’s Most Remote Island Sanctuary by David Liittschwager, Susan Middleton:

Inside dead chicks, I found, to my disgust, a printer cartridge, shotgun shell casings, paint brushes,  pump spray nozzles, toothpaste tube caps, clothespins, buckles, toys, and shards from larger plastic items such as laundry baskets and buckets. – David Littschwager

You can even make out a couple of cigarette lighters in the picture above. Pretty freakin’ sad if you ask me.

Open this PDF and scroll down to page 8 if you want to see a pretty gruesome picture of the bird itself.

Here is a good NPR story about this issue.

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