Hundreds of birds die on a cruise ship...

Every year many migrating birds die on cruise ships, also the cruise ships hit whales and kill many resting Albatrosses. It is the dark side of the cruise industry that few talk about.

Recently on April 24-25, 2020 a catastrophic event occurred that The Cornell Lab of Ornithology just published. You can watch a video of all the dead birds (mostly warblers) on every deck, see photos and read more about this phenomenon HERE.

Most likely the birds were attracted to and disoriented by the lights of the cruise ship as they were nocturnally migrating. There was also an intense storm at the time and all these factors and being tired probably caused the birds to get confused and slam into the structures on board killing them.

Some of the beautiful birds that perished were the Common Yellowthroat, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler and American Redstart.

Sadly there isn't much hope for cruise ships to darken their lights at night since cruise ships have casinos on them that are open all night and money talks.

Just a sad situation... but so are the 80 whales cruise ships kill a year in the PNW alone... I remember the story of a Princess Cruise ship in 2009 that came into Vancouver with a dead Fin Whale on the bow.

Hopefully regulations can be changed so we protect birds and whales out there on the ocean, especially since many are endangered.


  1. Just gutting, seeing all those precious little bodies, what a waste. I have shared this article from Cornell among birders on Facebook, asking how we can change our own travel habits to benefit birds. I would start by lobbying the cruise industries to turn off their damn lights at night!

  2. Wow. I had no idea about this. Thanks for raising this, Mel!

  3. I witnessed the same thing back in 2005 aboard the Carnival Glory, wile cruising back north to Florida from Central America.

    Observed it all happen, from beginning to end... including seeing the deck crew get busy that night/early morning sweeping dead, injured, and exhausted, birds from the decks into the ocean.

    I didn't want to go on a cruse - was pressured into it by family - but after witnessing that carnage, I'll certainly never go on another. One of the worst experiences of my life.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Dowitcher Identification

Hawk Identification Tips from every angle (Sharpie vs Cooper and Red-tailed Subspecies)


*Updated - The most famous Red-tailed Hawk is eating fish on the ground just like a Bald Eagle!

*UPDATED* The First Ever Black Birders Week May 31-June 5th