Around three quarters of the world's population of Manx shearwaters breed on islands around the UK, so we have an international responsibility to protect them. The birds return to Lundy in late March to breed, after one of the most amazing migrations in the bird world.
The young fledge by the end of September and both the adults and young embark on their epic annual migration, they fly southwards across the Atlantic all the way down to the Southern Atlantic where they over winter off the shores of Brazil & Argentina, and they will not touch land again until the following spring when they return to their breeding colony. The Shearwaters are truly oceanic birds, and as such they are nervous land dwellers and with the fear of predation they will wait for the relative safely of darkness before come into land. They nest in burrows on steep grassy slopes and as they fly in under the cover of darkness they call. Click here to listen to the unmistakable call of the Manx shearwater.
In 2001, the Lundy population of Manx shearwaters was only 166 pairs, compared to around 1,000 pairs in 1939. It was thought that rats were eating the eggs and chicks of the birds and that this was pushing them to the point where they may have been lost from the island. The Seabird Recovery Project was set up to safeguard the island population of Manx Shearwaters, and since the rat eradication in 2006 they have shown remarkable signs of recovery. Every four years a Manx Shearwater census takes place and in 2013, just seven years after Lundy was declare rat free the breeding population was estimated to be over 3500 pairs, an incredible 2108% increase!!
Click here for Black Legged Kittiwake