ANCHORAGE — Lake Iliamna in Alaska is North America’s eighth-largest lake, but nobody would mistake it for the Pacific Ocean. Not even a seabird.
So when thousands of common murres were found dead at the southwest Alaska lake — part of a massive die-off of a species whose preferred winter habitat is at sea — seabird experts were puzzled.
“We’ve talked about unprecedented things about this die-off. That’s another one,” said John Piatt, research wildlife biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey.
Murres occasionally land in fresh water, Piatt said.