Friday 4th August comments: The number of our serene tube-nose Fulmar has risen, with an increase of 10% on sitting birds. The overall population is 341 pairs, the sixth highest count; the highest population count being 381 pairs in 2010.
Our Fulmars are still very much present on the island at the moment feeding chicks. Both adults are now able to go on fishing trips bringing food back for their young, which are now large enough to fend for themselves. The defence strategy of Fulmars is to squirt an oily substance from their beak towards any unsuspecting intruder that gets too close; something a seabird doesn’t want is to have oiled feathers as they won’t be able to fly. The chicks are now at that stage where they are able to project this far enough to keep them out of any harm. It is an amazingly effective defence strategy and there are few predators that are brave (or stupid) enough to try and predate a Fulmar.
These superb seabirds are also more prone to ingesting plastics than many other seabirds due to their foraging strategy. They will often feed on carrion and pick bits of food off the surface in feeding frenzies. With such an abundance and variety of plastics in the ocean it can be very hard to differentiate between what is food and what is potentially harmful.
They seem to be having a good season and we hope that this success continues for one of our under-appreciated but quietly brilliant seabirds.