Dingle, Bean, Chickay and Caûvette take to the skies: the first soft-release of hand-reared chough chicks

Dingle Bean Chickay and CauvetteBy Liz Corry In July’s monthly report we revealed that Durrell’s hand-reared chicks had taken to the skies for the first time. A first for the birds and the project as no chough this young has been released into the wild for a re-introduction project before. Summing up what happened over the twelve days of releases into a couple of paragraphs doesn’t really do it justice. So, we thought we should show you in a bit more detail the antics of Dingle and the girls.

chicks on target boards

Chicks learning to land at target sites for food. Photo by Liz Corry.

In the days leading up to the first release the chicks were put through their paces. Making sure they knew where to go when they heard the whistle for food; flying lengths of the aviary at least three times a day; squat jumps and press ups morning and night…Ok not the last bit. In fact the physical aspect of their training would only really be achieved once they were out and being tested by the elements. Flight in the polytunnel has its limitations. What the chicks really needed to focus on was learning how the adults go about day to day living. Watching them respond to the keeper, their foraging techniques, reactions to predators and other potential threats. All behaviours key to survival. Again this does have its limitations when you are confined to an aviary. But with the adults regularly visiting the aviary they had plenty of opportunity to pick up the basics.

Adults landing at aviary. Notice the missing tail feathers due to their annual moult. Photo by Liz Corry.

Adults landing at aviary. Notice the missing tail feathers due to their annual moult. Photo by Liz Corry.

The problem we faced was that the chicks became so obsessed with the adults that when the adults were not at the aviary the chicks would just take naps in the roost boxes and not want to train with us. To add to our exasperation we wanted to release the chicks when the adults were not around, i.e. when they were in the quarry. We wanted the chicks to learn how to go in and out of the aviary at their own pace. More importantly, we didn’t want the adults around when it was time to shut the chicks in.

Chicks observing the adults eating mealworms at a training session. Photo by Liz Corry.

Chicks observing the adults eating mealworms at a training session. Photo by Liz Corry.

They would either create a distraction or end up getting locked in with the chicks. So on the day of the first release we waited for the adults to head to the quarry, opened the hatches, and waited. And waited… The chicks had disappeared into their favourite roost box just inches from the hatches. A change of tactic was clearly needed after twenty minutes of no activity. We called the chicks down for a meagre amount of insects at the other end of the aviary. The idea being they would emerge, become active and then see the hatches open and start exploring. This worked and it didn’t take too long for one of them to go outside. With baited breath we clung to every heartbeat wondering what would happen. How high would they fly? How far would they go? Who would they meet? We didn’t account for Dingle hopping down to the floor and taking a bath in the adult’s water tray! Obviously very content.

The chicks are joined by some of the adults at the aviary. Photo by Liz Corry.

Inevitably the adults returned to the aviary before we were ready to call the chicks back inside. The youngsters showed a lot more excitement than the adults whose single focus was food. That motivation kept everyone close to the aviary. The adults perched on the aviary looking on as the chicks would occasionally launch themselves from the netting and whizz around the aviary. When it came time to close the hatches the adults were inside on the whistle before the chicks. Likewise as we approached to close the hatches the adults were the first out. Knowing full well closure meant no evening playtime in the quarry, they were not willing to stay. The chicks on the other hand continued eating oblivious to what was occurring. The adults stayed nearby so when the whistle was blown to reward the group with their favourite treat they flew in and landed back on the aviary. Their calm obedience was a testament to how well they have adapted to the wild. It was definitely one of the most rewarding days for everyone on the chough team. The next day was pretty much the same. The only exception being the arrival of the peregrine family minutes after the hatches were opened. They had been a common feature of Sorel in the preceding days. The young peregrines saw the adult choughs as target practice. They would swoop down and chase the birds. Unlike the neighbouring crows and magpies, the choughs would always stick together flying in formation. I think this helped as no chough could be picked out as an easy target. The choughs could also play the ace card of returning to the aviary and fading into the background of the black shelves and netting. The chicks first ‘encounter’ in the wild with the peregrines involved them staring up from the external shelves observing the commotion above. After opening the hatches the chicks were still inside when I heard distant chough calls from behind the aviary. On the horizon the image of five dots very quickly formed into five choughs flying with determination towards the aviary. Scanning the skies for the sixth chough revealed two interweaving shapes approaching from inland, one a chough, the second definitely a peregrine. Through grit and determination (and a bit of cockiness when she retaliated) she made it back to the aviary unscathed along with the other five who had landed sometime before. The chicks by this point had already flown back inside into the farthest depths of the aviary. We locked them in half of the tunnel and allowed the adults in the other half for respite until the peregrine left. On another occasion two juvenile peregrines chased the group flying no more than 20ft above my head whilst sat by the open hatches. That event, as you can imagine was a blur at the time. And after! Even the frantic camera clicking pointing in hope at the sky didn’t do it justice.

Peregrine attack at release aviary. Photo by Liz Corry.

One of several peregrine attacks at the release aviary. The choughs took shelter in the aviary. Photo by Liz Corry.

It wasn’t always that easy to get the chicks back inside the aviary. Bean’s behaviour on the fifth night of releasing was a prime example. To be fair to her, the afternoon had been quite challenging. Minutes after the hatches had opened the choughs were being harassed by a peregrine so the chicks were locked back in until it left (I realise at some point there will be losses due to predation, but not at the aviary, not on my watch!). Then when they were allowed out again the wind picked up. For a species that nests in sea caves and lives near the cliffs a bit of wind should not be a problem. However, for a soft release, a cross wind or worse, one that propels them towards a small opening in a wooden frame, can be challenging if they haven’t mastered all the tricks of flight. It wasn’t just Bean having difficulties that day.

Bean sat on the netting trying to figure out how to get back inside. Photo by Liz Corry

Bean sat on the netting trying to figure out how to get back inside. Photo by Liz Corry

Then again my sympathies diminished after one of many failed attempts to coax her back inside. I had walked them down from the sheds to the hatches by talking nicely and waving insects in their faces. Hand-reared chicks are very compliant that way. When they saw the hatches they started to hop inside one by one heading for the food dishes. All except Bean who stumbled at the last hurdle. All she had to do was cross from one shelf to the other a few inches away. Max had even put up a perch that morning to bridge the gap. She stared at me, stared at the gap, then flew back to the other end of the aviary and sat above the other three chicks feeding below.

Staff wait patiently for Bean to make her way back inside the aviary. Photo by Liz Corry.

Staff wait patiently for Bean to make her way back inside the aviary. Photo by Liz Corry.

In this situation the protocol is to shut in the birds you can, lock them into one section, and hope they will act as a lure to encourage the straggler(s) in. There comes a point when the chough left outside no longer cares about food and just worries about where it will roost for the night. That’s when we have to set aside the training methods and just sit guarding them patiently until they find their way back. Bean herself seemed relatively calm. She spent time preening and sitting next to the other chicks (well just above them to be specific). She did explore the roof and fly back and forth trying to find a way in. She even sat in the external roost boxes once or twice. Never once did she go to the hatches. As the sun sank below the cliff tops she was visibly more agitated and starting darting away from the aviary calling to the others. She finally settled, not in the external roost boxes, but out on the netting just next to the roost box the chicks were sleeping in. We left her just before 10pm and I returned at 5.30am before the sun was up, to find her in exactly the same spot.

Bean warming up after a night out alone. Photo by Liz Corry

Bean warming up after a night out alone. Photo by Liz Corry

Much to my relief she was alive although very sleepy. To be fair the other three had not really woken up either. I was worried that the night out and stress of yesterday had taken its toll. Luckily all she needed was a soak in the sun. As it started to rise above the hill she moved to an external roost box and sat preening in the full sun. Soon she had made her own way back inside and by 6.38 am she was  reunited with the others. The soft release continued for a further four nights. The chicks spent their time outside foraging with the adults in amongst the sheep, exploring the cliff tops and playing on the air currents. They have certainly explored further than the adults ever did at this stage in the soft release process. It is a really positive sign for things yet to come.

Chicks and adults flying free. Photo by Liz Corry

Chicks and adults flying free. Photo by Liz Corry

We had to put the releases on hold whilst we went to collect six new birds from Paradise Park. After which point all the aviary birds would be in quarantine lockdown for thirty days minimum. You can imagine the tension then on the last night before our departure when we let the chicks out at 3pm. Stress levels, already above average,  peaked when the adults decided it was time to head back to the quarry and the chicks followed. In flight there was an obvious split between the two groups as the chicks lagged behind. From our view point we think they made it as far as the car park. From their position they would have been able to see the quarry. Whether it was the moving cars, the site of the quarry, or general lethargy the chicks changed their minds turned around and flew straight back to the aviary. I don’t think any of us could have predicted how well this round of soft releases has gone. Let’s hope the next phase with the parent-reared chicks will be just as successful.

Where have all the sheep gone? – Bracken control on the north coast

20140817_094111Recent visitors to Sorel and Devil’s Hole may have been puzzled by the disappearance of the resident sheep. Don’t worry they are still there. They have been moved into the field with the chough chicks and will be locked in there whilst bracken control measures are carried out.

20140817_085056Work commenced on the 11th August and will continue until 8th September. Control measures will include the use of herbicides on the land surrounding Mourier Valley. For this reason we are asking pet owners to keep their pets on a lead and keep to designated foot paths for their own safety during this time.


Herbicide treatment specific to fern species such as bracken targets the rhizome (underground roots) and accumulates in both active and dormant buds where it effects a lethal action. It frequently produces a very good reduction in fronds in the year after spraying, but does require multiple applications to be effective in the long term. To find out more about bracken and the control measures we use click here. For any questions regarding the current work being carried out around Mourier Valley please call 07797 740202.

From what we can see the sheep have not taken too badly to their confinement. The grass is getting shorter by the second and the birds are reaping the benefits.


Jersey launches birdwatching and photography code

Cetti's warbler. Photo by Mick DrydenWith the increasing appreciation of the Island’s birdlife come new responsibilities. Social media further shares immediate opportunities to broadcast sightings and other information on our birds. It has considered, therefore, appropriate to put together a guide with simple steps on how to enjoy birdwatching and bird photography in a way that’s safe for oneself, others and the birds and habitats we are so admiring

This new code has been inspired from similar guidelines produced by the BTO, RSPB, and other birding and bird conservation organizations in the world. It has been created through a series of consultations between by Birds On The Edge and members of the Ornithology Section of the Société Jersiaise.

So, please consider what is best for the birds at all times. But please, always enjoy  your birds! The new code can be downloaded here.

The States of Jersey Department of the Environment also have guidelines for visiting the Island’s SSI’s and these can be downloaded here.

Chough report: July 2014

Choughs at the aviary. Photo by Liz Corry

July was yet another action packed month in which the goal of re-establishing a sustainable wild chough population in Jersey moved another step closer to being a reality.

Winners announced for Insurance Corporation Conservation Awards Jersey 2014

Insurance Corporation Conservation Awards 2014The Durrell chough chicks entered their first competition this month. Not a beauty pageant, we are still working on their talent skills, but a conservation award to help fund their post-release monitoring.

Insurance Corporation of the Channel Islands holds an annual competition to recognize the efforts of local conservation projects and award prize money to fund continued work.

The chicks faced stiff competition from several amazing projects representing a range of local fauna and flora from bioluminescent marine worms to grass snakes and reed beds. Insurance Corporation Jersey manager and chair of the judging panel, Natasha Lucock, says that the quality of entries this year was higher than ever.

“It’s great to see so many people taking an interest in Jersey’s green spaces and making such huge efforts to preserve the life that can be found there.”

I am pleased to say that the chicks won the Peter Walpole’s People’s Choice Award, as voted for by fans of the Insurance Corporation Facebook page.

Winners receiving their awards

Winners of the Insurance Corporation Conservation Awards 2014. Photo (c) Insurance Corporation

“Over 450 people viewed and voted for their favorite videos of the various projects on our Facebook page and we were delighted to present Durrell with £500 as the people’s choice winners named in honour of our chairman and conservation awards founder, Peter Walpole,” added Natasha.

The money will buy radio transmitters for the chicks to monitor their movements post-release.

We should be able to locate any chick that roams out of sight. Combining their daily movements with geographical information databases we can say which habitat and local areas they prefer to forage in and roost and then feed this into future land management plans.

The Inspiration Award of £500 went to Robert Ward for his efforts in studying and conserving the local grass snake and slow-worm population. Robert is on Jersey conducting research for his PhD with DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology), which will be running until October 2016, seeks to determine the population of both species along with investigating their movements and habitat.

More information about the different projects and Insurance Corporation can be found on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/insurancecorporation.

Durrell chicks make preparations for take off

Caûvette and Dingle

Caûvette and Dingle. Photo by Liz Corry

Chickay, Bean, Caûvette, and Dingle were measured up and kitted out in preparation for their first flight outside of the aviary. The chicks had leg rings and tail mounted radio-transmitters fitted by the keepers. They were happily feeding and playing afterwards and don’t seem hampered in any way by the extra equipment.

Measurements of wing and tarsus lengths were recorded to add to an existing European database. Whilst not 100% accurate these measurements can be used to determine sex when DNA analysis is not available.

Their behavioural training has progressed well. They respond to the whistle and fly down to target boards to feed. At first Caûvette seemed to be apprehensive about flying through open hatches. The other three would glide through, but Caûvette seems to bail at the last-minute and fly up to the shelf above. For whatever reason, confidence or acquired skill, she has improved. All this made it look promising for the chicks’ first release.

Maiden voyage of Durrell’s hand-reared chicks

It was imperative to get the chicks flying out with the adults as soon as possible this month. At two months of age they are eager to learn and the adults are the perfect teachers. There was an added pressure of knowing that an import of new choughs on the 24th July would mean all birds inside the aviary would go on a thirty-day quarantine lock-down. If a release was delayed until September the chicks would be older and maybe more complacent.

First release of Durrell chicks

Durrell chicks stretching their wings for the first time outside of the aviary. Photo by Liz Corry

On the 8th July the Durrell chicks took their first venture into the wilds of Sorel. The hatches were opened late afternoon and the chicks were given 30 minutes of free time. It proved more successful than anyone could imagine. The chicks ventured outside although not very far. Sticking closely to the roof of the aviary they took several small circular flights. When the adults appeared from the direction of Sorel point the chicks became very animated, but still stayed close to the aviary. Mainly because the adults were doing the same thing.

chough chicks and adults flying

Flying with the adults above the aviary. Photo by Liz Corry

When it was time to call them back the adults were still at or even in the aviary. Instead of trying to scare them out we decided to use them as lures and the chicks would hopefully learn by example. The adults heard the whistle, spotted the keeper, and flew to the target boards inside the aviary for food. The chicks followed, although not instantly.

Knowing how the adults now react to hatches being closed by keepers, there was a good chance they would fly out or worse some would get shut in the aviary. The chicks being naive to such a thing might stay eating or fly out reacting to the panic of the adults.

What actually happened was that the adults all flew out as soon as the keeper approached from the front. The chicks remained eating whilst watching the adults leave. Hatches were locked and the chicks stayed safely inside for the night. The adults were unfazed by the whole affair as they returned straight away on the whistle for bonus insects.

Famous four flying over Mourier Valley

Max observing the four chicks as they fly around Mourier Valley. Photo by Liz Corry

Ten releases happened in total over two weeks in July. Free time ranged from 30 minutes to 5 hours and there was only one night when one chick stayed out on the roof all night. They avoided several aerial attacks from juvenile peregrines learning their own trade. They have now learnt to fly inside the aviary under shelter when the peregrines are around. The adult choughs were present each time and no doubt the chicks learnt what to do from the adults reactions. The adults have not been injured by the peregrine encounters despite physical contact and always seek the aviary for shelter. Fortunately for them these are young peregrine practicing to hunt. Things could be dramatically different when they no longer need to practice.

Peregrines in training at Sorel

Peregrines in training at Sorel. Photo by Liz Corry

If the challenge of predator encounters was not enough the Durrell chicks’ ‘playtime’ outside has led to an increase in syngamus and coccidia levels in their faeces. The symptoms are repetitive sneezing and wheezing. This is not unexpected as these naturally occur in the wild and the physical demands of first time wild flight will weaken birds making them more susceptible. All four chicks were immediately put on a course of baycox and ivomec due for completion the first week in August. Within days the chicks appeared healthier, but they still need to complete the course.

Changing of the guard

Student Pierre Rauscher

Ex-student Pierre Rauscher. Photo by Liz Corry

We sadly bid farewell to one of our students at the start of the month. Pierre’s three month placement on the project had come to an end.

Pierre’s first day was when we first started releasing the adults locked in overwinter. He saw the Durrell pairs lay eggs and was able to experience the highs and lows of chick rearing.

It only seemed fitting then for his last day to be the day we gave the chicks their first taste of life in the wild. Pierre enjoyed his time with the choughs and the Bird department, but has said he will not miss the wind up at Sorel! Having been blown backwards on the cliff path whilst tracking birds in May I can understand why he said that.

New student Max Benatar

Harriet Clark with new student Max Benatar. Photo by Liz Corry

The very next day we welcomed Max Benatar to the team. Max is a student at the University of Zeppelin, Germany. Thrown in at the deep end, Max was given a crash course in radio-tracking before manning his post on the cliffs for the second day of the chick release. Fortunately for him the birds behaved like a dream.

Our other student, Adam, has shown him the ropes when it comes to the behavioral observations and both have received training in basic husbandry skills at the aviary.

Now you see them now you don’t

The sheep at Sorel have been have been updating their summer wardrobe. Aaron and Sam have been busy shearing the flock which is very laborious as it involved herding sheep from both sides of the valley and the cliff faces.

Sheered sheep at Sorel

The sheep at Sorel with their summer coats. Photo by Liz Corry

They have been using the aviary field to hold and process who they can. Inevitably the odd one will evade capture so it took several days. When the sheep are in field the gates have to be locked to prevent accidental escapes. This might be confusing to the regular visitor, but hopefully they understand the need for the restriction.

The flock is now back out roaming between Sorel and Devil’s hole. Looking slightly darker than before (their top coat is beige, but underneath its brown). Of course with strong summer sun we are having the sheep are seeking refuge. So don’t be surprised if you hear bracken or a gorse bush bleating at you and not a sheep in sight!

Sorel aviary maintenance

Yet more DIY work was needed at the aviary this month. The joins in the plywood roofing panels which had been filled with all-weather sealant in the spring have once again become exposed. The intense heat beating down on the wood really tested the brand name’s claim and unfortunately it failed. So a new approach was taken and now the roof should now stop the chough’s food from getting wet….if Jersey ever escapes the drought.

The release wires continue to be replaced with tougher galvanized steel wire. We have been waiting on a delivery to the island since we bought out a certain chain store’s stock last month. A few more ‘training perches’ have been added to the outside of the aviary to help the chicks when they exit the aviary. It provides them with a few extra options to sit and catch their breath. Choughs don’t perch in trees and ground level exposes a bird to potential threats from mammal predators or mischievous dogs off leads.

We are now looking at ways to improve the release hatch design and efficiency of opening and locking. Although fitting anything at this stage might be hampered by having ten birds locked in the aviary.

Wildlife park chough update

Gianna on enrichment log

Gianna finding insects hidden in an enrichment log. Photo by Liz Corry

Funding has been found to replace the old netting on the display aviary and modify the buidling. Hopefully this will make the aviary more appealing for both the choughs and the visitors. In preparation for the work the two females housed in the aviary, Gianna and Issy, have been moved off-show.

Once the work is completed the breeding pairs and the two single females will be flocked together in the display aviary as they would do in the wild.

Sadly there have been no further sightings of Arthur. David Woolcock, the red-billed chough studbook holder, is looking at options for Durrell to acquire a new breeding male and return our holdings to three breeding pairs.

 Paradise Park’s chicks boost Jersey’s chough population by 50%

With the exception of our Italian female, all our choughs are from, or descendants of, Paradise Park’s captive population. Genetically these are North Welsh birds not Cornish just to confuse people. This year Paradise Park successfully parent-reared eight choughs and there was even a case of one female becoming a foster mum.

Choughs bred at Paradise Park

Chough chicks and parents in their flocking aviary at Paradise Park, Cornwall. Photo by Liz Corry

Ali and Ray explaining their flocking aviary setup

Ali and Ray explaining their flocking aviary setup. Photo by Liz Corry

Paradise Park very generously agreed to send six of the eight chicks to Jersey to take part in the release program. Having been parent-reared the hope is that they will pass on the skills they learned from their parents to the Durrell chicks.

In return the Durrell chicks will guide them through the behavioural training, hopefully tell them the keepers are trustworthy people, and generally ease the transition phase from captive to released birds.

The chicks were caught up and put into crates by Paradise Park staff Olly Frost and David Woolcock. They were then driven to Perranporth airport to meet Lee Durrell and Colin Stevenson. Lee had very kindly offered to fly them back to Jersey on her plane with Colin piloting. A potential eight hour van journey via a ferry was swiftly cut down to 55 minutes with the choughs arriving in Jersey by lunchtime on the 24th July.

Flying into land at Jersey

Flying into land at Jersey. Photo by Liz Corry

They were driven in convoy up to the aviary at Sorel by Colin and students Adam and Max. There they were met by Durrell’s vet team to examine them and take blood samples for health screening. The Durrell chicks were very excited to hear the first ‘foreign’ chough call. However the presence of six people, one holding a syringe, quickly dampened their excitement. The free-flying adults outside did not appear bothered by the new arrivals they simply wanted their afternoon feed before returning to the fields.

The new arrivals had to spend a week isolated in section 1A of the aviary whilst awaiting the results of the blood tests. If clear they can be mixed with the other four in section 2. All choughs inside the aviary are under quarantine conditions as soon as the first Paradise Park chick left its crate. As such they must remain locked inside until given the all clear.

This seemed to prove frustrating to the Durrell chicks at first. Having recently been given the opportunity to fly free for several hours they seemed annoyed and confused as to why they were being separated from the adults. The new arrivals also took a keen interest in the adults. For the first few days the new chicks would hide in the shelter boxes but leap out whenever they heard the calls of the adults arriving at the aviary.

View from inside keeper porch

View from inside keeper porch. Photo by Liz Corry

Interestingly there was not much interaction between the two groups of chicks. This can only be taken as a good thing as the two groups feed next to each other without any fighting or bullying.

The two groups are due to mix next month. Max and Adam will continue with behavioral observations to assess how well the groups integrate and results will be published in next month’s report.

A wild Cornish chough chick

A wild Cornish chough. Photo by Liz Corry

Liz Corry and Harriet Clark traveled to Cornwall three days before the import. A day was spent behind the scenes at Paradise Park kindly shown around by Alison and Ray Hales.Followed by a 36 hour chough hunt to see wild choughs and learn how the RSPB are working to protect this species and their habitat.

Claire Mucklow, RSPB Cornwall chough project manager, and Nicola Shanks, chough project officer, generously gave up their morning to chauffer Durrell staff across fields and cliff tops. Fourteen choughs were counted at one roost site, accounting for almost half of the Cornish population.

A report on the trip to Cornwall including a guided tour by the RSPB of wild Cornish chough habitat will feature on this website very soon! For more news about the wild choughs in Cornwall click here.

Family of Cornish choughs

Family of Cornish choughs. Photo by Liz Corry

Why does one of the world’s rarest birds spend so much of its time in the Channel Islands?

Balearic shearwater (2). Photo by Regis Perdriat

Today, 197 of the world’s rarest birds are considered to be Critically Endangered (species facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild). In the Channel Islands we often hear a lot about these birds as several are the subject of conservation programmes run from Jersey’s Durrell; however, much less well known is that one of these extremely threatened species choses to spend a very important part of its year in the waters around our islands.

Only an estimated 9,000-13,000 adult Balearic shearwaters exist. This seabird breeds only in the Mediterranean’s Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Cabrera, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. It is then, rather surprising, perhaps, that, traditionally, after the breeding season, between late May and the end of July, the majority of the global population passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and into the Atlantic, dispersing northwards to post-breeding grounds in the Bay of Biscay and Iberian coast, where they undergo their annual flight-feather moult

During some years, warmer than usual sea surface temperatures led to a northward shift, presumably following their fish prey. Birds were seen along the UK’s coastline and often in good numbers in the Channel Islands. Most individuals return to the Mediterranean in the autumn, with return passage beginning in September and peaking in October-November, although late individuals are still recorded passing Gibraltar between December and April.

In Jersey we typically saw a handful of Balearics during the year except in rare, exceptional years like 1985 when 603 were recorded. That was until recently. In 2009, 320 were recorded during the year and numbers have been steadily increasing since then: there were 845 in 2011, 3,181 in 2012 and 3,556 last year. This year, so far there have been “thousands” in our waters although they’ve been forming mixed flocks with non-breeding Manx shearwaters, northern birds that may have not been in good condition following the spring storms.

Balearic shearwater 1991-2013

Big Balearic shearwaters flocks are being recorded from Guernsey too and birds are being encountered at sea throughout our area. What does this mean for the shearwater? Well, we may now be responsible the greater part of the population of a very rare bird for a significant part of its year. Each year, now. Our record, unfortunately, isn’t that good for the common species!  Let’s make sure we look after the Balearic shearwater as the whole world may now be watching us!

You can download the International Species Action Plan for the Balearic shearwater and other action plans for European bird species here

Balearic shearwater. Photo by Regis Perdriat