Not so long ago, predatory birds were the biggest threat to Columbia River Salmon:
Rapidly increasing populations of predatory water birds living in the Columbia River estuary are having serious effects on salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act. The world’s largest nesting colony of Caspian terns and North America’s largest colonies of double-crested cormorants, along with thousands of nesting gulls, have become established on man-made islands in the Columbia River estuary.
The high rate of bird predation on Columbia River salmon and steelhead represents an ecosystem out of balance. The islands that provide prime nesting habitat were artificially created and are maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ dredging program. These islands would not exist without human maintenance.
Juvenile salmon numbers are kept artificially high by hatchery production, possibly leading to an increase in the bird population. In addition, juveniles arrive in the estuary disoriented and weakened from their passage through the hydropower system.
Bird numbers in the Columbia River estuary increased from a few hundred nesting pairs of cormorants in 1984, to 6,400 pairs of cormorants, 9,400 pairs of terns, and 10,000 pairs of large gulls in 1997. Estimates for 1998 indicated continuing increases in fish-eating birds.
Drew . . . Windmills killing salmon? I say, let the windmills save the salmon by killing the birds!