Thursday 4th August comments: As our seabirds start to leave the Island for winter quarters far and wide, one species of bird is still in the process of raising its young; the Fulmar.
Fulmar’s are part of the Shearwater and Petrel group and are sometimes referred to as ‘tube noses’ because they have a tubular nostril on top of the bill. The tube nose is very specialist as it extracts salt from the sea enabling the bird to drink (pretty impressive!)
Fulmars don’t start breeding until 6-7 years of age and just lay one egg (first egg was discovered on 15th May this year) and will incubate for a staggering 49-53 days. Once hatched it will take another 50 days before it fledges, hence why all the chicks are still present and won’t start leaving until early September.
However these birds come with a health warning as young will defend themselves at the nest by squirting a foul smelling oily liquid out of the beak, projecting it several feet on the intruder. All okay unless you are one of the researchers studying these birds….So words of advice, never approach a Fulmar, just admire from afar!