Saturday, 23 August 2014

Spitting Success

Fulmar party!

Chick about to be ringed

One leg and a special bird ring being attached by trained staff

Almost ready to go
Saturday 23rd August comments: The Farne Islands support twenty-three breeding species of seabird and most have now departed the islands after a successful breeding season. However we still have one remaining; the Fulmars.

Fulmars are notoriously slow breeders with the first eggs laid in mid-May before spending up to sixty days incubating. Once hatched (in early July) the single chick takes another eight weeks to fledge before departing in late August (talk about taking your time!).

Over the last few weeks as part of our long-term monitoring programme of Farne seabirds, we’ve been ringing the chicks and it’s a messy job. The species main defensive weapon is to spit an oily substance at ‘would-be-attackers’ and it works; nothing goes anywhere near them…apart from us (yes someone has to do it!).

So we’ve successfully ringed all the chicks but blimey, do we smell (even more than normal) as we took plenty of direct hits! We have to hand it to them Fulmars are certainly good at raising chick sand looking after themselves!

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