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But Is It Bird-Safe?

Between the 1950s and the 1990s, the tuna fishery killed thousands of dolphins worldwide. No one was trying to, but the nets used to catch tuna were also quite good at catching dolphins. When the general public found out about this they demanded action; the U.S. government passed laws and fishing methods were changed. Now, a picture of a dolphin appears on cans of tunafish sold in the country, assuring consumers that the tuna they are about to eat is "dolphin-safe."

The dolphins were bycatch, or non-target species accidentally caught by fishermen when they're trying to catch something else. But dolphins are not the only creatures that fishermen accidentally net or hook. These days, scientists worry about the effect...

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Why Does a Tubenose Have a Tubenose?

An albatross will spend nearly its entire life in or around the ocean. During that time, it will get all the fresh water it needs. How? After all, the salt content of ocean water is two to three times that of bird's bodily fluids. How does an albatross get rid of all that salt?The answer is, through its nose. Albatrosses, shearwaters, and giant petrels all belong to a family of birds known as tubenoses. Their beaks are actually seven fused plates of bone, topped with appendages that serve as a sort of nostril. Tubenoses have either one or two of these nostrils, and connected to them is a pair of enlarged salt glands. The bird drinks ocean water and the salt glands remove excess salt from the blood. The salt then dribbles out of the bill, or it can be blown forcibly away. These salt glands allow tubenoses to maintain the proper balance of salt in their bodies.



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