While large oil spills threaten sea birds off the coast of France and in a Turkish shipping channel this week, scientists are warning that even small oil spills may harm marine bird populations to a much greater degree than previously thought. “Marine birds are slow to reproduce, and they’re migratory. Even a small spill that is restricted to a localized area can have a major impact over a wide region,” said Bill Sydeman, director of marine studies for the Point Reyes Bird Observatory. Sydeman said a growing body of evidence indicates that there’s no such thing as a minor oil spill.