Sunday, 2 March 2014

More news coverage and more casualties

As reported in our last Blog a major auk wreck has occurred. Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO) coordinated a beach count on 22/23 February 2014 in south-west France and recorded the following casualties:

15541 Puffin – 14455 dead, 1086 live
6772 Guillemot – 5443 dead, 1329 live
652 Razorbill – 376 dead, 276 live
671 Auks – 671 dead, 0 live
394 Kittiwake – 392 dead, 2 live
109 Gannet – 92 dead, 17 live
45 Fulmar – 44 dead, 1 live
167 Others – 94 dead, 73 live

24,351 TOTAL – 21,567 dead, 2,784 live (live birds were taken into welfare/veterinary care).

LPO report that fishermen have reported “carpets of dead birds floating at sea”. Click here for more info.

Since then more dead birds have been found in south-west England, Hampshire, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Channel Islands and Spain. The combined total of all reported affected birds so far is more than 26,528. LPO are planning to do more counts on 1-2 and 8-9 March 2014.

Ring recoveries from France indicate that many of the affected birds were ringed in the UK. See BTO BlogSpot.

If you find a dead puffin please take a photo of it. Photographs of the birds’ head and wings are useful to determine age and moult condition and so potential impact of this storm-wreck on the breeding population. These can be sent direct to Professor Mike Harris, puffin expert at

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales were once more on the news. On Sunday morning Jon Ironmonger's piece for BBC breakfast was broadcast. There was also a short report on BBC2 (starts 2 minutes in) and BBC4 (starts just after 3:30 minutes in).

1 comment:

  1. Terrible news...I did wonder about the impact of the storms on auks - I was hoping the theory that the Skomer/Skokholm puffins winter in the 'North Atlantic' might have meant the populations that breed in West Wales escaped the worst.

    Is it possible yet/will it be possible to know how much this wreck affects the Skomer & Sokholm populations specifically?