Thursday 14th January comments: As part of the seabird series we are running on the blog, today we follow on with looking closely at the Fulmar as we reveal how the population levels are doing and what the national picture is all about.
During the 2020 full island census, the Isle of May supported 324 nesting pairs, a 16% increase on the previous season’s total. However it was still below the 2017 breeding figure of 341 pairs and way short of the all-time record of 369 pairs on 2001. In general, Fulmars have been doing well on the island although the population is fairly stable and is around the 300 pairs mark per year.
In contrast, the national picture is a bit more glum as Fulmars are not doing that well with almost a third of the population has declined between 1986-2018. During this period numbers in the U.K declined by 38% to a current estimate of 350,000 pairs with the majority of them nesting on the northern and western islands. A number of reasons are attributed with this decline including climate change, prey availability, change in fish discards, long-line fishing techniques amongst others. It’s not all good news for seabirds as we continue to look at the seabirds of the Isle of May…. More coming soon.