This month saw the start of the global Fridays For Future climate strikes. Young people all over the world are standing up in support of the changes required to mitigate climate change. Even though we are marooned on the island following a spell of stormy weather, the Skomer team are voicing our support for #FridaysForFuture and the global #ClimateStrikes.
|Puffin on Skomer Photo: Sarah Parmor|
|Puffling (puffin chick)Photo:Viv Hastie|
Although Skomer’s puffins are doing well, puffin numbers in more northerly colonies have plummeted. Climate change and the warming sea temperatures are affecting where sandeels (puffin food) can thrive. In the breeding colonies of Shetland, Norway and Iceland, parent puffins are having to travel further away from the colony to find food for their chicks. For several years, some of these colonies are fledging no, or few chicks. This is not sustainable. If nothing changes puffins will be on a path to extinction.
|Fulmar on nest site Photo: Sarah Parmor|
|Kittiwakes are struggling to rear chicks. Photo: Alice Cousens|
There are other effects of climate change that are of concern. For example, extreme weather events are becoming more common and severe. In the winter of 2013-2014 extreme storms in puffin overwintering areas in Southern Europe killed thousands of birds. Given that our puffin breeding numbers have remained stable these were either birds from other breeding colonies, or young Skomer birds who are not yet breeders. If the latter, then we may see a drop in our breeding population over the next few years. Time will tell.
|Guillemot chick Photo: Sarah Parmor|
|Razorbil chick Photo: Alexa Piggot|
Young people need us to act now, to minimise harm and chaos in the future.
Issy Key & Sarah Parmor
(Skomer LTV and Visitor Officer)