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Birds Winter At The Salton Sea

Dennis Paulson

  California's Salton Sea is hot and smelly - and it's also a Mecca for thousands of wintering birds. This inland sea formed when the Colorado River breached floodgates in 1905, forming a lake 45 miles long. The lake has diminished in size and greatly increased in salt concentration, but a single introduced fish - the African tilapia - persists in abundance. Seabirds visit the Salton Sea to feed on them. The smell comes from occasional massive die-offs of the fish, so abundant that their bones make up the shoreline. Every winter, the salty waters support hordes of water birds, including shorebirds, herons, cormorants, pelicans, and waterfowl. Check it out!