Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Manx Shearwaters are increasing on rat-free Lundy Island

Helen Booker (South West Regional Office, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Exeter, UK) and colleagues have published in the April 2019 issue of the journal British Birds on the recovery of seabirds on the UK island of Lundy after the eradication of rats in 2004.  The population of Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus has risen from 297 to 5504 pairs since then.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Lundy once supported large numbers of breeding seabirds, but declines during the twentieth century left the island with only remnants of its former colonies.  One major concern during this time was the impact of rat predation on eggs and chicks, especially of burrow-nesting Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus and Puffins Fratercula arctica.  A major project to eradicate rats from Lundy was completed in the spring of 2004.  This paper examines the latest Manx Shearwater survey and how the species has responded since rats were eradicated, and sets this into the context of how the overall status of seabirds on Lundy has changed over the last 15 years.”

A Manx Shearwater chick at its burrow mouth, photograph by Jaclyn Pearson

Read popular accounts here and here.

Reference:

Booker, H., Price, D., Slader, P., Frayling, T., Williams, T. & Bolton, M. 2019.  Seabird recovery on Lundy: population change in Manx Shearwaters and other seabirds in response to the eradication of rats.  British Birds  April issue.

John Cooper, ACAP information Officer, 05 July 2019

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