The rise and rise of the Razorbill

Monday 11th January comments: Our mini-series continues this week as we follow on from looking at both the Guillemot and Razorbill in a little bit more detail. Today we bring you the news of last seasons population counts of razorbills and what it means nationwide.

Razorbills have been one of the success stories of the Isle of May (and several other North Sea seabird colonies) as the population has been increasing year-on-year for a few decades. The availability of nest sites, good breeding seasons and reasonable prey availability has helped the species increase in number with last year’s census counts revealing a new record population for the Isle of May. The full island census revealed a total of 6,292 individual’s counted with an estimated 4,124 pairs nesting. This has increased over the years with only 1,508 pairs counted in 1990, so some very welcome increases along the way (and long may it continue!)

Very recently a report on the ‘State of the UK’s birds 2020’ was published by the RSPB with support from several organisations including NatureScot giving long-term trends of many of our bird species. Although seabirds have been struggling nationally, both the Razorbill and Guillemot have been bucking this trend with latest figures suggesting they are doing well.

The report highlighted that Guillemot is our most numerous seabird species with an estimate of 950,000 pairs nationwide which is an increase of 32% over the 1986-2018 period. The Razorbill have had similar success with 88% increases between 1986-2018 with an estimated population of 165,000 pairs.

However it’s not all good news and we’ll continue bringing you more seabird species in this series this week, so stay tuned for more facts!

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