Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Tube-nose day

Keep clear - Fulmar chick spitting oil 

So hot - Fulmar chicks panting in today's heat 

Staying calm - Fulmar chick being ringed by Ciaran 

Dr Chris Redfern leading the task 

Ringing pliers with a lump of plastic coughed up by a Fulmar chick

Wednesday 8th August comments: It was a special day on the islands today, for it was tube-nose day. Those ultra specialist seabirds; the Fulmar, have been nesting since mid-May and today we made the team effort of ringing all the chicks across the islands.

Fulmars are long living birds, some individuals are reaching their mid-60’s (yes, over 60 years of age!) and having been on eggs for over fifty days, the first chicks started hatching from 1st July. It takes forever to fledge Fulmar chicks and so the team went about the business of systematically ringing every chick before they fledge in a few weeks time.

However that’s not an easy job as these oil spitting seabirds use projectile vomit to ward off predators and they hit their mark with amazing accuracy every time, as every ranger was covered in lovely Fulmar vomit by the end of the day (who said this was an easy job!).

Sadly the total number of chicks reached only 96, almost 74 down on last year; the impact of our poor summer weather still leaving its mark. Also one individual coughed up a lump of plastic – mans impact on our seabirds is far reaching. 

1 comment:

Bella Gingell said...

I am guessing the smell of the oil is a little fishy? There are drawbacks to every job.

It is amazing to think these wild birds live so long.