Kittiwakes see Red

Kittiwake 2

The delightful Kittiwake in serious trouble…

Kittiwake 1

Young fledged Kittiwake on the wing

Friday 15th December comments: Kittiwakes on the Isle of May NNR go together like rhubarb & custard or Christmas & Sanata Claus. However for how much longer will we be saying this? This week it was officially announced that Kittiwakes have been formally placed on the red data list of species of birds of conservation concern and the populations described as ‘vulnerable’ for the very first time.

This year on the Isle of May the number of breeding Kittiwakes showed a very welcome 22% increase in the population with a total 3,507 breeding pairs counted. Despite this encouraging increase, the long-term trend on the May is more worrying as it is in many other colonies. Looking back at historical data it shows that the Isle of May supported a population of just over 8,000 pairs just as recently as 1990, so how times and fortunes are changing…

This long-term decline is mirrored in so many other North Sea colonies as numbers have dropped an incredible 44% in just twenty years nationally. That very significant and worrying decline has resulted in this week’s bad news and the next question to answer is how can we reverse this trend? Worrying times for seabirds…

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