Sunday 9th February comments: Strom Ciara is currently wreaking havoc across the UK bringing serious storms and damage to all parts of the British Isles. Glancing at the Shipping Forecast their are reports of storms in all areas with ‘severe gale’ or ‘storm’ force with ‘very rough’ or ‘high’ forecast for the surrounding seas. Its certainly epic and one to watch, at a safe distance.
However when these storms rage, has anyone ever thought about the seabirds which live out at sea. What do they do when such storms hit? Many birds are away from the local area but we still have plenty of Shags, Fulmars, Gulls around the island whilst Guillemots, Razorbills and even Puffins are not too far away.
A good majority of birds (Shags, Gulls) can seek shelter on the island but they still need to enter the turbulent waters to feed. If the storm lasts a day or two, birds will be okay but if prolonged weather continues finding food will become more difficult and the old, weak and inexperienced birds will start to suffer. This applies for the Auks which will remain out at sea riding out the seas (yes just sitting on the water regardless of how big the storm is) but if things don’t settle, then we’ll expect mortality and birds will be found dead on beaches, known as ‘wrecks’.
Hopefully Storm Ciara will pass quickly and everything and everyone can get back to their daily routines and the seabirds of the North Sea can dust themselves down and get back to do what they do. Its not an easy life being a seabird, but they are hardy and hopefully the majority will be okay during these rough spells.