Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Climate change: and our changing seabird life

Climate change has effected the numbers of most species:
Futures Forum: Climate change: 'season creep' and an early spring
Futures Forum: "Britain's wildlife is in an increasingly fragile state, putting food production in jeopardy"
Futures Forum: Climate change: risks & opportunities for species in England

We have discovered more intriguing ways of recording much of this:
Futures Forum: Climate change: and Acoustic Ecology >>> citizen science recording changes in the environment

However, what is clear is that numbers are declining drastically - as this BBC series led by Adam Nicolson showed these last two weeks:

The Last Seabird Summer?


Living with the Birds
The Last Seabird Summer? Episode 1 of 2

In episode one, Adam Nicolson follows the story of the seabirds on the Shiant Isles in the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland, one of the most important bird places of Europe. As the puffins, guillemots and razorbills arrive from far out in the North Atlantic, Adam traces our long history of dependence on seabirds - thousands of years of collecting eggs and hunting the birds for meat, oil and feathers.

But there's crisis in our seabird population - in the last fifteen years in Scotland alone, 40 per cent have been lost. And although in Britain our relationship is now one of conservation, there are countries who still hunt the seabird. To understand how this tradition continues today, Adam travels to Iceland, home to over half the world's puffins, and meets those for whom the puffin hunt is still part of everyday life.

Trouble at Sea
The Last Seabird Summer? Episode 2 of 2

Picking up the birds' progress in July, Adam finds the Shiants colonies to be healthy and the puffins, guillemots and razorbill bringing in great bill-fulls of gleaming silver fish for their chicks. But elsewhere the sea is failing to provide the birds with the food they need to survive.

In Scotland alone, 40 per cent of the birds have been lost and, further afield in Iceland, Adam sees colonies where nearly all the birds have been wiped out. He discovers how puffin hunters respond to the crisis and talks to both local people and experts about what could lie behind the catastrophic seabird declines. With the help of leading ornithologists and marine scientists, he begins to reveal an unexpected picture of the global forces driving the crisis, and the possible future for our seabird world.

BBC Four - The Last Seabird Summer?, Living with the Birds
BBC Four - The Last Seabird Summer?, Trouble at Sea
The Last Seabird Summer? EP -1. Living with the Birds BBC Documentary 2016 - YouTube

But the RSPB is determined to take things forward positively:
The last seabird summer? Not if we can help it! - Scottish Nature Notes - Our work - The RSPB Community

See also:
Marine problems: climate change | WWF
How seabirds are affected by climate change -- ScienceDaily
Scottish seabirds - Impacts - Exploring Climate Change

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