Puffin 'wreck' in Scotland - CEH blog

28th March 2013
Puffin 'wreck' in Scotland - CEH blog
Update #2 1500, 27 March 2013
This morning (Wednesday 27 March) Prof Mike Harris visited St Cyrus NNR on the East coast of Scotland. The visit, and initial investigations of a number of dead puffins collected over the last two days, has confirmed that the most likely reason for the ‘wreck’ is the long period of very strong easterly winds making it very hard for the birds to find food. With onshore winds birds that die end up on beaches thus making the numbers involved very obvious.
Prof Harris writes: “Our first priority has been to age the birds that have died. So far about half the birds examined have been adults and some definitely look as though they would have bred this year if they hadn't died. It is therefore likely that breeding populations are going to be affected in the Spring and Summer. Immature make up the other half of the sample so whilst their deaths will not have an immediate impact on breeding, the wreck is also affecting birds that would have recruited and bred in subsequent years." He concludes "It is too early to know how many birds are going to be involved but it does look as though there will be both immediate and longer term effects at puffin colonies.”
CEH are working with RSPB Scotland to monitor the situation and learn as much as possible about the cause of the wrecks. Recovery of the birds along our beaches for post-mortem examination is ongoing.