Sharks Eating Songbirds in Gulf of Mexico
Tiger sharks preying on birds disoriented by oil-rig lights, research suggests.
The predators are eating land birds affected by offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico (map), according to new research.
"He coughed up some feathers," Drymon said.
That in itself wasn't unusual, he said. Tiger sharks in other parts of the world are known to eat marine birds. But once Drymon analyzed the feathers in the lab, he was fairly sure they had come from a terrestrial bird.
So Drymon and his team launched a project to study the sharks' diets. Over two years the team caught 50 tiger sharks—mostly within 5 to 10 miles (8 to 16 kilometers) offshore—and dissected their stomachs.
In about half of the sharks, Drymon found "feathers, or beaks, or bird feet, or some kind of