Seabirds in the Shetlands have had the best breeding season for a number of years. Ornithologists say the reasons are not clear but must be linked to a plentiful supply of sandeels. Birdwatch
Puffins have has begun their annual migration from Wales to the North Atlantic Ocean after a “record breeding season”. Thousands of birds began leaving Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire last weekend. Skomer is currently home to more than 13,500 puffins – up from 10,000 last year. It is thought puffins, unlike at other sites in the UK, the birds may be doing well because of increased numbers of sandeels. The Daily Telegraph
I wonder if their numbers are being bolstered by refugees from the dwindling Scottish colonies in search of sandeels.
Seabird numbers in Scotland fell by 19% between 2000 and 2008, according to a new report. Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) said the major cause was almost certainly a shortage of food due to a drop in the number of small fish, such as sandeels. If the declines continue, many of Scotland’s famous “seabird cities” could be virtually empty within ten years. Kittiwake numbers have fallen by 40 per cent since 2000 and the shag population that has dropped by 25 per cent. The Arctic skua population has dropped by 57 per cent and the herring gull population has dropped by one third.