Thursday 26 June 2014


Guillemot parent with chick

'Bridled' Guillemot on the sea

Goodbye; chick leaving the islands

Father and chick on their way

Thursday 26th June comments: It’s a tough life being a Guillemot chick! No fancy comfortable nest (adults lay a single egg and incubate between their feet – Penguin style!) and you have no brothers or sisters – just one egg, one chick!

Then after just twenty days of life, you’re father drops down onto the sea (some 80ft in places) and call’s you down. You have no choice as the food is not coming to you, so with one huge leap of faith, you jump!
At this time of year (and for the next three weeks) the 50,000 or so Guillemots across the islands are doing exactly this, as they lead chicks away from the islands to the relative safety of Dogger bank (60 miles out to sea!). It’s away from the islands that the chicks will grow flight feathers and learn to become independent but it’s a tough start to life. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be jumping down cliffs at twenty days of age!

However the strategy works because the Farnes population of Guillemots has grown from 1,500 in 1971 – up to its current total and increasing by the year! So life as a Guillemot is tough and extreme but it all ends happily for the next generation of birds.

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