Kittiwake Update

Monday, April 13th 2015

Last summer we were joined at Cape Wrath by a team from the RSPB as part of their Seabird Tracking and Research project. Their aim was to monitor the feeding behaviors of Kittiwakes along the coast of Scotland through the use of GPS trackers. Details of how this was done can be seen in a previous blog post.

We recently received the final map from the tracking of the Kittiwakes at Faraid Head. This map shows in high resolution all of the journeys from the nesting colony from the five birds tracked over just a few days. We found that there was huge variation in the distances travelled by these birds on a foraging trip; ranging from only a few miles, to over 200 miles in one journey. We also found that individual birds mostly followed similar routes each day.

These maps represent some of the best information currently available on marine areas used by seabirds during the breeding season, and the connectivity between marine areas usage and the location of breeding colonies. The area here represents only a small number of birds from the colony over a short period of time, so it is likely that the extent of the area accessed by the birds during the entire breeding season is much larger. This valuable information will be fed into the RSPB reports which will be used to help understand the needs of our wildlife and to shape conservation strategies protecting our seabirds for the future.

We are grateful to RSPB team, Stacey and Emily for sharing this data with us and look forward to welcoming Stacey as part of the Foxglove team for the summer when she starts later in the month.
 


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