SEA BIRD

Bird Watching (UK) - - Species Puffins -

pro­duced, and guided walks will take place through­out the spring and sum­mer. Al­though the Dun­net Head pro­ject has been a long time in the mak­ing, its an­nounce­ment shortly af­ter the news about Puffins high­lighted ex­actly what the Red List is for – help­ing to set con­ser­va­tion pri­or­i­ties. Dr Mark Ea­ton, one of the RSPB’S Prin­ci­pal Con­ser­va­tion Sci­en­tists, ex­plained: “We pro­duce lots of stats which en­able us to as­sess whether each species should go onto one of our lists of con­ser­va­tion con­cern, ei­ther am­ber for mod­er­ate con­cern or red, which are the ones we are re­ally wor­ried about. To be on the Red List you need to be a bird of high­est con­ser­va­tion con­cern, mean­ing you’re in a pretty bad way. “You’ve de­clined very rapidly, you’re at risk of ex­tinc­tion glob­ally, or you are his­tor­i­cally de­pleted, mean­ing you are much lower pop­u­la­tion lev­els that you were in the past. We’re see­ing Puffins, Kit­ti­wakes and Shags join the Red List this time around, so we’re par­tic­u­larly wor­ried about what’s hap­pen­ing to our marine ecosys­tems and the im­pact that’s hav­ing on our seabirds. “We use the Red List to pri­ori­tise our ac­tion. We use it to iden­tify which species need help im­me­di­ately and take ac­tion. So, if there is re­search to do to find out what the prob­lem is, and how to tackle it, then we’ll do that, then once we know what needs to be done to help them we’ll get on with it, whether it’s land man­age­ment, species re­cov­ery projects or lob­by­ing govern­ment.” Ex­pect, then, that the Puf­fin will con­tinue to make head­lines for some years to come. If it can, by virtue of its pho­to­genic na­ture and our ten­dency to an­thro­po­mor­phise it, draw at­ten­tion to some of the less glam­orous species also fac­ing an un­cer­tain fu­ture, it might just be­come even more pop­u­lar with Bri­tain’s bird-lovers. Like all auks, the Puf­fin is beau­ti­fully adapted for a sea-go­ing, fish-catch­ing life BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breed­ing Bird Sur­vey (BBS).

WHAT ELSE IS ON THE LIST? Curlew, Nightin­gale, Mer­lin, Kit­ti­wake, White-fronted Goose, Long-tailed Duck­pied Fly­catcher, Whin­chat, Grey Wag­tail, Mis­tle Thrush, Dot­terel, Black Red­start, Slavo­nian Grebe, Shag, Red-necked Grebe, Ringed Plover, Wood­cock and Pochard have all also been added (and Mer­lin re-added). They join the likes of Tur­tle Dove. Three species have been moved from the Red List to the Am­ber List (of Medium Con­ser­va­tion Con­cern), af­ter suc­cess­ful con­ser­va­tion ef­forts. Night­jar, Dun­lin and Bit­tern have all bounced back.

We’re see­ing Puffins, Kit­ti­wakes and Shags join the red list this time around, so we’re par­tic­u­larly wor­ried about what’s hap­pen­ing to our marine ecosys­tems and the im­pact that’s hav­ing on our seabirds

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