Wildlife Watch

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Seabirds can struggle in bad weather like these Shags from last year (Mark Newell)

 

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Stunning birds in summer plumage; the Shag

 

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Stormy Seas on the May (Bex Outram)

Friday 13th January comments: Welcome to mid-January and we are starting to get our first real feel for winter weather with snow, storms and plummeting temperatures. Over the last 24 hours the east coast of the UK has also experienced a storm surge with many coastal towns and villages taking a battering at high tide.

However as we struggle, what is happening to the wildlife? Those birds which linger around our coastal areas will be finding it hard to find food especially seabirds and it often shows in birds like our Shags. Low temperatures and long nights can mean that Shags cant find enough food to survive in stormy seas and often many are washed up dead.  In recent years we’ve experience ‘wrecks’ of seabirds, the worst in recent history occurred in March 2013 when thousands of Puffins, Shags and many others died and washed up along the coastlines.

However you can help! If you are walking your dog, taking a jog or just out to blow the cobwebs away along a beach, keep your eyes open for washed up dead seabirds. If they are ringed report them to the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) at https://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/ringing/about-ringing/why-report-ringed-bird however if its a ringed dead Shag with either a ring, colour-ring or both, please report sightings to:  shags@ceh.ac.uk

This is important to help us gather information on what is going on and the impact of these weather events. So help out science and the next time you are on a beach, take a look, a closer look…

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