Wednesday 3rd June comments: The Isle of May is known for its important seabird colonies as the island supports over 200,000 birds including 46,200 pairs of Puffins. As a result of its importance the May become part of an elite set of sites where detailed seabird monitoring takes place looking at populations, breeding success, adult survival and chick food. The other three sites include Skomer (Wales), Canna (western Scotland) and Fair Isle (Northern Scotland) and this monitoring program is becoming ever more crucial as seabirds face an uncertain future.
On the Isle of May research commenced in 1973 and it has now become the most data-rich and complex study of its type in Europe. The data is collected over the summer months by a team who live on the May including staff from SNH (Scottish Natural Heritage) and CEH (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) as well as three PhD students whilst financial support is given by the JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee).
The team are dedicated to the cause and work long hours and at this moment we are undertaking our population counts (so you may see one or two tired faces if you visit!). The Isle of May is that important and we’ll keep on doing ‘what we do’ and hopefully we can help contribute the answers needed to help our seabirds.