Wildlife response to PNW "heat dome"/heat wave

Sad article out today: https://www.npr.org/2021/07/09/1014564664/billion-sea-creatures-mussels-dead-canada-british-columbia-vancouver


Oh, gosh. I’d read a similar article today, but did not grasp just how deeply this will be felt until I read the npr article.

You’re right; it’s heartbreaking.


Raptor rehabilitation center in NE Oregon and SE Washington takes in many more nestlings than usual as the flightless baby birds jump from their hot nests. https://www.oregonlive.com/environment/2021/07/baby-hawks-in-oregon-bailed-from-nests-amid-heatwave-they-had-no-choice.html


My impression is there has been a significant die-off of shellfish around Vancouver Island, likely also into the Puget Sound.

I’m noticing dead seal pups washing up on the shores of our beaches. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/86486850

My guess is either they are starving or getting food poisoning, eating the dead shellfish from after the heat wave.


I was wondering about the ripple effect from dead sealife. Maybe an algal bloom?

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I was out kayaking yesterday and I saw some of the beige sea scum, but not an extraordinary amount. That said, I was kayaking off Cordova Bay, which doesn’t have as much shellfish life as the Saanich inlet, or the west side of Vancouver Island.

I imagine the Saanich inlet might be a good indicator, as those waters can warm up quite quickly.


Wow tragic but perhaps important encounter. Thanks for sharing though. I would be interested to know if you ended up reporting it to DPO or RAPP as user angelique_k suggested in your observation, and what the outcome was if so.

As the OP, I should also apologize, it just occurred to me how U.S.-centric my topic title was. Thanks for the inputs from iNaturalists from around the globe! This forum wouldn’t be the same without you.


On Saturday, we drove from Toledo to Corvallis, Oregon, on Highway 20. Near the coast, the young growth on most conifers (Pseudotsuga menziesii, Thuja plicata, Calocedrus) was brown, at least on the south and west sides. Sometimes only some of the trees were scorched like this but on some hillsides every tree was browned. Older needles looked OK. As we drove inland, the proportion of damaged trees dropped and in the Willamette Valley nearly all were apparently undamaged.

Deciduous trees and the undergrowth looked OK.


We also noted the same burning on Douglas Fir in the Columbia River Gorge. burnt on the west/south-west sides of many trees. While hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail in Skamania Count (north of Big Huckleberry Mountain) we noted, not yet posted, burning on a conifer there as well. Some burning of ground cover plants noted in limited spots too.

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