WWT Consulting helps census seabirds in Orkney
Senior Consultant Gareth Bradbury travelled to the Scottish archipelago of Orkney to join a team from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) counting seabirds breeding along its rocky cliffs. Located between the productive shallow waters of the North Sea and the edge of the continental shelf in the Atlantic, the UK, and especially Scotland, is internationally important for the numbers of breeding seabirds it supports around its coasts. Recent censuses have shown, however, that several seabird species, such as the charismatic puffin, are in decline. It is thought that climate change may be a driver in this, affecting the abundance of their preferred fish prey. This RSPB project aimed to census all the breeding puffins in Orkney to compare with previous counts to establish trends. The last time puffins were counted in Orkney was 1999 and updating our understanding of puffin populations is urgent since puffins were recently added to the red list of birds of highest conservation concern. This puffin census is part of ongoing efforts to gain momentum towards a full national census of all the UK’s seabirds. For further information visit the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science pages.