Photos of remote birds killed by our trash


Photographer Chris Jordan has published a series of images identified as dead albatross on Midway Atoll whose bodies are filled with bits of plastic they ingested.

Midway Island is an anemic little line of sand and coral reefs, way out in the middle of the Pacific. Now, I don't know Mr. Jordan personally, and haven't fact-checked the story behind the photos — but presuming it's all as presented, this really is a horrifying set of images. Birds that live as far away from civilization as you can imagine, their innards packed with petroleum flotsam? Wow.

The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking.

To document this phenomenon as faithfully as possible, not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world's most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent.

Midway (, Thanks, Susannah Breslin and Sean Bonner!)